Many Indian students who are studying abroad in countries including the US, UK, Germany, Poland, Canada, and Australia have expressed concern that “studying abroad” has grown more isolating and lonelier, particularly following the COVID-19 pandemic.
International postgraduate students reported greater rates of depression, anxiety, stress, and suicidal thoughts than the UK population, according to a study by authors from the University of Birmingham, King’s College London, and Imperial College London. However, very few of them sought treatment for these conditions.
According to certain other research findings, university students in particular have expressed great anxiety about the COVID-19 pandemic, due to an intolerance for uncertainty and a decline in quality of life brought on by a loss of social interactions.
Students claim that studying abroad is frequently portrayed by study abroad Indian agents as a joyful and ideal experience, failing to adequately convey the realities, just to “sell more of their false dreams”.
Social Media is the New Fake:
Students also criticize the “rosy and fake one” image that individuals present on social media. The typical image of an international student’s life includes posh university lectures, expansive libraries, plenty of friends, parties, and worldwide travel. Students who are currently studying overseas, however, think that this is a made-up scenario intended to sell more dreams.
According to students, “the idea of studying abroad frequently be promoted as being “straight out of a movie,” which is far from reality. Here, life is difficult for overseas students. Due to the extraordinarily high cost of living, you must work part-time. And finding work, whether it be full- or part-time, is difficult. Higher rent was one of several problems that the post-pandemic students studying abroad had to deal with.”
They further continued by saying “Many people believe that we are ‘living our best life,’ but the truth is that we have to wash dishes or work in warehouses to support ourselves. We find it difficult to attend lectures during the day and do homework, staying up till three in the morning to ensure receiving good grades. After all these, you miss out on many of your family’s special occasions and major days. It can be difficult to be there for them through difficult times as well.”
Less Taboo for Seeking Support:
Even though there are more mental health issues among Indian studying abroad students, getting help or going to treatment is less stigmatized.
Some institutions have also established courses to assist students, keeping in mind the growing worry about the deteriorating mental health in colleges. One of the most well-liked courses in 2020 was “The Science of Wellbeing,” which was first offered at Yale. With more than 2.5 million students enrolled in the course worldwide in 2020, it became popular.
Some study-abroad students have also stated, “While the path is difficult, finding assistance has been simple and effective for them. They received a lot of assistance from the university and the therapist. They made sure that students had all the resources, encouragement, and support they needed to improve. Many universities actively offer free therapy sessions to their students as well, which has proven to be a useful tool.”