Representational image
Representational image

Mumbai: Youngsters studying abroad are in a fix as neither can they return home to India nor can they venture out because they are forced to stay indoors, with all universities and colleges being shut down. Most of them in France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria, Denmark, Poland, the US, the UK and Canada have been given holidays from their universities and colleges till further notice due to the coronavirus pandemic.

No part-time jobs for students abroad

Students studying in Canada revealed they have been given summer holidays starting from now till September when their next academic year semester is due to start. Cassandra D’souza, a student studying at Peterborough said, “My college has declared holidays till September, which means I have almost six months to do nothing. Our classes have shifted online but it is difficult to get part-time jobs as everything is shut.”

Will I be permitted to return abroad?

I took the first flight back to India but I do not know if I will be permitted to return to my university, said Anurag Chatterjee, a student pursuing his Bachelor programme in France. He said, “I panicked when I heard about the COVID-19 outbreak so I booked a flight to India and returned home. The checking at the airport was minimum in the first week of March. But now, they are cancelling flights and scrutinising every passenger. I do not know if my French University will accept me after few months. Will I be able to complete my course?”

Unable to return to India

All international flights to India have been cancelled till March 31, 2020. Ruchira Punjabi, a student, said, “There is no point in panicking because there are no flight tickets available. We do not have an option but to quarantine ourselves in our homes abroad.”

Students in Europe, US and Canada worst hit

Shops, restaurants, pubs and transportation is shut so we are forced to stay indoors, revealed students in Europe and USA. Pedro Alfaro, a student from Spain studying in Poland, said, “The situation is very complex in Spain. My parents are senior citizens and they cannot venture out. I have been indoors too.” While, Elma Neefjes, a student in Netherlands, said, “The situation in Netherlands is getting worse and worse. Two of my friends were about to go on exchange but it is all cancelled.”

Stay indoors abroad, do not travel

It is best to stay abroad and avoid any kind of travel, said Prashant Singh, a student pursuing his master degree in California. He said, “My university has asked people to go back if they want. But I am planning to stay here and look for an internship where I can work from home.” While Manasvi Shinde, a network engineer in San Franciso, said, “There are limited food stocks in stores here as it is like a dead city. But it is better to avoid international travel as that might just increase the risks of virus transmission.”

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Free Press Journal