How to Prepare for Your International Education Journey and Maximize Your Experience During & After the Pandemic
It is true that studying abroad can help to broaden your horizons, yet it can be complicated as well. Unfortunately, it has even become more complicated than ever before because of the global pandemic. However, this should not be a cause for alarm since there is a solution for every setback. If you still want to pursue your international journey or are in the process of doing so, what are the key areas and resources you need to consider to get the most out of your experience?
In this week’s episode of The Stephanie Show, I interviewed Joey Ye, Senior Manager, Client Strategies at RBC (Royal Bank of Canada), and she had great advice on how to prepare for your international education journey and maximize your experience during & after the pandemic.
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Here are Joey’s top tips:
On top of the traditional factors, such as education quality, cost, lifestyle, culture and work opportunities, there are 3 key areas that need to be considered and understood in order to make sound decisions and minimize disruption along your education journey.
1. Make sure you are aware of international student- related policy updates and new measures introduced in possible destination countries.
Are you still in the process of identifying which country to study abroad? Are you considering taking a gap year or maybe study online? Whatever your scenario is, it’s important to do your own research to understand the pandemic’s impact on your study permit application process and get updated on travel restrictions. If you have to stay in your home country to start your first semester or first year online, you need to understand how this will impact your eligibility for the post-graduation work permit program. For example, in Canada which is a popular international education destination, the federal government has made a series of interim policy changes since the closing of its border in March 2020. These new changes and measures are aimed at reducing the impact of the pandemic on their international students, including introducing a 2-step study permit application process and relaxing the eligibility for post-graduate work permits.
2. Make sure you have clarity on your possible learning experience.
Confirm with your target schools the delivery format of your desired program. Does the format provide online learning only or a hybrid model with some online content and some mandatory lab work? Different schools may approach the program differently. With a little research, you may identify a school that approaches content delivery in a manner that closely aligns with your desired learning experience during this unprecedented time.
3. Find ways to obtain local community or online support beyond the school experience.
The global pandemic not only creates inconvenience to your day-to-day life but also may add stress while you study abroad far away from your family and friends. It’s necessary to explore available support which can provide extracurricular experiences and meet your unique needs. For example, in Canada, there are many enterprises and non-profit organizations that offer services to international students with various needs. Here are a few sites/apps you may want to explore more.
o Start connecting with a curated community. Arrive makes it easier for newcomers, including International students to access information and assists them to make a smoother transition to Canada. Arrive Connections also helps you build your Canadian network.
o Learn how to manage your finance with online free programs such as McGill Personal Finance Essentials from one of the Top Canadian universities.
o Enhance your personal well-being. Check out this free online course provided by the University of Toronto through Coursera that focuses specifically on how to manage your mental health during COVID-19.
o Explore RBC Future Launch at Home, an online resource hub dedicated to youth-focused virtual programming and learning opportunities. This hub features a variety of resources and programs, and includes workshops, online learning modules and virtual support services across a wide range of topics and age groups.
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