An Indian student based in London reflects on the many questions weighing on the minds of international graduates.
Who would have thought that I would be able to travel to London in September 2020 during the Covid-19 outbreak when even the vaccines were under study. The decision was tough.
Whether to defer the offer or study remotely for some time and travel when the situation got better or travel in September itself. All of this was dependent on my visa which came just a week before my departure and the situation was tense.
Eventually, following all the rules and regulations of quarantine and social distancing, I was in London. I am glad I was able to come here as some of my classes were held in-person. I was also able to attend all of the laboratory-based classes and network with my classmates. Now, as my dissertation is going on and I have had my first dose of the vaccine, it is easier to interact and meet people. The situation is definitely not easy, but the universities, faculties and student unions are trying their best to make the most out of this situation.
Talking about the incoming batch, there are several questions raised and some of which were not faced by the current batch.
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Below are some FAQs that are addressed with relevant official references:
Should I get fully vaccinated in India and then come to UK or get my vaccination here?
To get vaccinated in the UK it is suggested that you are registered with a GP (General Practitioner). Students are usually assigned the GP associated with their university (1), and it takes some time for the procedure. Thus, it is advisable to get fully vaccinated in India. If you get 1 dose in India and then come to the UK, you will still need to get 2 doses of the vaccine provided in the UK since the composition is different (2,3).
Since India is on the , is it advisable to travel to UK?
Since most courses in the UK start around September-October, it is hoped that the situation would get better and with the fast vaccination drive of both countries, India might shift to amber by then (4,5).
What are the quarantine rules and cost?
As of now, those who are traveling from India, it is a 10-day hotel quarantine costing around £1,750 which are specified by the UK government (6). The cost of quarantine is paid by the student itself although some universities are helping incoming students by providing a rebate or on-campus quarantine facilities (7-9).
Is financial aid being given due to Covid-19?
Universities are providing Covid relief funds for students who are financially struggling. There is a separate application form for that which has to be filled through their website before deadline. There are a lot of other scholarships such as Commonwealth, GREAT, Tata and other bursaries along with departmental scholarship awards (10–12). Some of these are also mentioned on the INSA scholarship page (13).
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1. How to register with a GP surgery - NHS [Internet]. [cited 2021 Jun 26]. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/gps/how-to-register-with-a-gp-surgery/
2. Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination - NHS [Internet]. [cited 2021 Jun 26]. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/
3. Travel abroad from England during coronavirus (COVID-19) - GOV.UK [Internet]. [cited 2021 Jun 26]. Available from: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-abroad-from-england-during-coronavirus-covid-19
4. Red, amber and green list rules for entering England - GOV.UK [Internet]. [cited 2021 Jun 26]. Available from: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/red-amber-and-green-list-rules-for-entering-england
5. Quarantine and testing if you’ve been in an amber list country - GOV.UK [Internet]. [cited 2021 Jun 26]. Available from: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/how-to-quarantine-when-you-arrive-in-england
6. Booking and staying in a quarantine hotel if you’ve been in a red list country - GOV.UK [Internet]. [cited 2021 Jun 26]. Available from: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/booking-and-staying-in-a-quarantine-hotel-when-you-arrive-in-england
7. Studying in the UK and Coronavirus (COVID-19) [Internet]. [cited 2021 Jun 26]. Available from: https://www.studyin-uk.com/studying-in-the-uk-coronavirus/
8. UK Universities to Cover Quarantine Costs for Indian Students - 19 May 2021 [Internet]. [cited 2021 Jun 26]. Available from: https://www.studyin-uk.in/news/uk-universities-cover-quarantine-costs-for-indian-students/
9. Entry requirements - India travel advice - GOV.UK [Internet]. [cited 2021 Jun 26]. Available from: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/india/entry-requirements
10. UKCISA - international student advice and guidance - Contact us [Internet]. [cited 2021 Jun 26]. Available from: https://www.ukcisa.org.uk/About-UKCISA/Contact-us
11. Find support at your university | Student Space [Internet]. [cited 2021 Jun 26]. Available from: https://studentspace.org.uk/find-support
12. UKCISA - international student advice and guidance - Coronavirus (Covid-19): info for international students [Internet]. [cited 2021 Jun 26]. Available from: https://www.ukcisa.org.uk/Information--Advice/Studying--living-in-the-UK/Coronavirus-Covid-19-info-for-international-students
13. Scholarships | INSA Indian National Student Association | United Kingdom [Internet]. [cited 2021 Jun 26]. Available from: https://www.insauk.org/scholarships
by Sanika Mohagaonkar
Sanika Mohagaonkar, , is pursuing her MSc in Human Molecular Genetics from Imperial College London.
*This column is part of a regular iGlobal series