The COVID-19 pandemic placed the entire world at risk. For international students, there’s growing uncertainty surrounding their future and the conventions that define international education. With so much at stake, prospective and current international students and education agents must know what’s in store for them after the pandemics’ surge.
Here’s a look at possible post-pandemic trends in international education that can help students and education agents gear up for what we all call the new normal, now that many countries are seeing the light at the proverbial end of the tunnel:
Recovering Demand for Key English-Speaking Destinations
After the dramatic decline in global student demand in March and April 2020, studies showed great improvement in early 2021.
IDP Connect’s IQ Demand Tracker showed varying student demand for top English-speaking countries throughout the pandemic. This data, as reported by Universities UK, revealed how national policies influenced demands.
In Australia, for example, its uncertainty to permit entry to international students led to a decrease in demand. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom had more favorable in-country policies, resulting in comparatively stable student demand.
In the early months of 2021, there’s been positive improvement in student demand. To illustrate, Canada, which experienced the worst fall in global student demand, recovered in the second half of 2020. Today, it still gets the highest search volume for top student destinations.
Integration of “Personal Connection” in Student Recruitment
As per Universities UK, IDP Connect has a whitepaper that analyzed the future of international education based on various higher demand sources. One of these sources is the institutional voice.
Following the interviews included in the whitepaper for institutional voice, Universities UK highlighted channel management in student recruitment. According to the interviewees, there were two factors that led to better conversion results: response speed and personal connection.
In addition, higher education institutions were also taking extra steps to maintain this connection. For example, Franklin & Marshall College in the United States focused on their established relationships with international students and their families, as per an article by University Business.
Consistent Delivery of Blended and Online Learning
In an interview with EdTech, Ryan Lufkin, the senior director of education product marketing at Instructure, shared his insights on tech trends persisting in 2021. He stated that blended learning with support from a technology framework will become a new standard in higher education.
Moreover, Goodwin University released a news article emphasizing the need to invest in reliable technology among HEIs. They named a few technologies that will help overcome pandemic obstacles. These include AI chatbots, virtual meeting, and virtual reality simulation.
However, in IDP’s Crossroad IV, they found that only 10% of international students want to study in an entirely online setting. On the brighter side, the same report found that 43% of their 6,000 respondents are willing to start in an online setting IF, at a later stage, they would transition to face-to-face learning.
Prioritization of Mental Health Among Foreign Students
The pandemic also illuminated mental health concerns that international students face. According to Goodwin University, the pandemic “exacerbated preexisting mental health concerns” which caused “significant psychological distress” throughout the world.
In the same article, they stated how HEIs and putting initiatives forward to remove the stigma surrounding mental well-being. Moreover, international students can find online resources today to protect their mental health. These include adaptability infographics, websites for counselling services, and mental health help blogs.
International students and student agents must remain well-informed and steadfast to combat challenges to come post-pandemic. Visit MSM to find more resources to arm you with the right information in taking on obstacles in global education.