Thousands of international students in New Zealand may have to stay in the country over summer break as there are currently no quarantine plans in place for when they return from their home countries.
Staying in the country would mean the students would not be able to see their families for the next year, at least.
New Zealand’s Finance Minister has said that international students are unlikely to return to the country this year, citing the time needed to establish appropriate quarantine facilities.
Meanwhile, education minister Chris Hapkins has stated student’s entry is unlikely due to Covid-19 “raging overseas”. Continuing, Hapkins voiced the importance of international students to the country but that the government will only allow them to return “when it’s safe to do so,”.
The president of the NZ International Students’ Association (NZISA) has also raised attention to the financial difficulties facing overseas students now that the International Student Hardship Fund has been “fully allocated”.
Further evidence of the financial hardship is found in a survey of over 400 students, domestic and international, both studying at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. The report found that 30% of students said they required greater assistance with living costs during lockdown and that an overwhelming 66% believed the pandemic increased their stress levels and anxiety.
The executive director of Schools International Education Business Association (SIEBA) said that work is being done to find answers for the return of international students who go home in December and that pastoral care services are being developed for students who decide to stay.
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The coronavirus pandemic has proven devastating to international study programs around the world, bringing the majority of university campuses to a standstill. With many institutions announcing plans to move courses online in the coming months, students are understood to be seriously considering cancelling their placements.