Chinese students studying in the UK keep finishing their degree amid coronavirus

By Chen Xi Source:Global Times Published: 2020/5/27 22:53:40

Over 80% of Chinese students who study abroad return to China Photo: Xinhua

When Chinese student Yao Han and her Chinese friend studying in the UK finished shopping in Tesco, a British young guy followed them on their way home and kept yelling at them with verbal abuse until a British woman helped them yell back and drive the rude guy away. 

"I used my phone to video it and planned to send it to the local police office for a report. But my hand was shivering at the time since I was worried that the guy would chase and attack us," Yao, a PhD student studying in the University of Oxford, told the Global Times.

Many Chinese students like Yao have been influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic but they are still pursuing their degrees overseas. 

Li Zhicong, a 26-year-old student studying a master degree at the University of Edinburgh, told the Global Times that she was busy taking online courses and writing essays.

"I was lucky that most of my courses have been finished before the lockdown. And the notice of delaying submission deadlines eased my pressure to submit the essays of different subjects within a short period of time," she said.

British Council, the UK's international organization for cultural relations and educational opportunities, told the Global Times that some British universities have introduced adjustment measures on application and admission in response to the pandemic, including language scores, deadlines for submission of materials, application deadlines and admission dates. 

Li said she felt more secure and calm after she knew that she could gain help from the National Health Service (NHS). "I felt very grateful when knowing overseas students in Scotland will not be charged for the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19."

According to data released by Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESE), more than 120,000 Chinese students have been enrolled in the UK in the academic year of 2018-2019. 

Chinese students might become less interested in studying abroad due to the virus crisis, but the British Council said that a new, internationally competitive graduate immigration route for international students for summer 2021 instituted by the UK government might be attractive to some students who want to work in the UK after graduation.

According to the website of UK government, successful applicants including international students on this route will be able to stay and work, or look for jobs, in the UK at any skill level for a period of two years. Graduates will be able to switch into skilled work visa once they have found a suitable job.

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