Published: 22nd July 2021
With countries yet to ease travel ban for Indians, students who've got research grants fearful of losing out
Many students whos secured admission and scholarships to study abroad say that this will lead to them losing an academic year and financial aid
The second wave of the pandemic did not show even an iota of kindness to India. The country grappled with an unprecedented high number of cases, medicine shortage, healthcare crisis, lockdowns and deaths. In July, things have seemed to look better than how it was a few months back. This, however, doesn't apply to everyone. Sadly, Indians students who were hoping to go to Europe to pursue higher education fall into that category.
Most of the European Union countries still have a ban on travellers from countries including India, Nepal, Russia and South Africa. With classes set to begin in September, a lot of them are unsure of what to do. Students say that this will lead to them losing an academic year and financial aid.
"I am a scholarship recipient of 49,000 euros for my master's education," says Divya, an Indian student, who is set to go to Spain to pursue her master's under the Erasmus Mundus Mobility Programme. "These grants will be taken away from us if our visas are not issued. We cannot defer our offers to next year because grants are offered on a yearly basis. Therefore if we don't join this year, we lose this opportunity. Furthermore, these are research-based grants, these cannot be studied online, they require physical laboratory presence and work," she says.
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Students say that they have written a number of emails to the concerned authorities, but none availed a response. Some of them have now started an online petition on change.org, asking the EU Council to intervene and allow all vaccinated students to enter these countries. At the same time, several Indian states have initiated the vaccination processes for students going abroad, on priority. While some countries have opened their borders earlier this month for vaccinated people, many are yet to ease curbs.