Students studying abroad but stuck in India because of the COVID-19 crisis and the recent surge in cases during the second wave can now look forward to some sense of direction and clarity on the steps ahead. India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) recently issued a number of guidelines to help such students and provide the necessary support so that they are able to resume their studies without any hurdles.
Students who are unable to leave India should get in touch with the MEA office if they are facing any mobility issues. They are required to send their contact details and coordinates to the Overseas Indian Affairs (OIA) Division II.
Affected students should send their details and coordinates to the following OIA-II division division emails: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
Thousands of students enrolled in foreign universities are stuck in India at the moment because of the pandemic. Their inability to travel back is due to travel restrictions, visa issues, and no classes on campus at their universities. There are also cases of students from foreign countries who are unable to return home. Most of them are currently studying remotely or online.
One of the key reasons is that many countries such as the United States have asked students to get COVID-19 vaccinations before they are allowed entry back to their campuses. Other examples include medical students enrolled in Chinese universities. Some of the key challenges for such students is that they are unable to undergo practical classes or training or appear for exams.
With travel restrictions and borders closed between India and many other countries, students hope that the government resumes special flights and creates air bubbles with countries such as the United States, the UK, Canada, and Australia. Many students have reached out to the government on social media and through other means with these suggestions.
As per data from the MEA, the pandemic had resulted in a 55 percent dip in 2020 with only around 2.6 lakh students having gone abroad compared to nearly 5.9 lakh in 2019. The first two months of 2021 saw nearly 72,000 Indian students enroll abroad for higher studies. The government response has come as a huge relief to many students who were facing uncertainties about their future.