President Trump’s Executive Order of January 27, barring “entry of all refugees to the United States for 120 days, (barring) Syrian refugees indefinitely, and (blocking) entry into the United States for 90 days for citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen,” has been raising eyebrows all over the world. Additionally, his comments on the restrictions imposed on the H1B visa applications seem to have put the future of students already studying in the US in jeopardy. Universities in the US are known for diversity and inclusion and welcome all persons, regardless of age, gender, sex, race, coloor, nationality, ethnicity. This is their USP that has been built over years and centuries perhaps. Thus, to imagine that they are going to succumb to political agendas and diktats, and ruin this branding built over a lifetime would be foolish. Here’s a look at how does this situation affect students from India and what can one expect over the next few months:
In case you are already studying in the US
- Wait and watch the situation. Allow the political sentiment to settle into a meaningful ruling and not mere statements.
- Maintain a high GPA
- Work on building your skills and equipping yourself with what the future needs - technology, sustainability, research, progressive business ideas and more.
- Explore industry sectors of importance to you that have presence or headquarters across the world; make a plan B for employment opportunities.
- Don’t allow rumours to build panic.
In case you are planning to study in the US
- Evaluate why do you want to study in the US.
- Programmes with built-in OPT and Co-op options must be considered first.
- There’s never been a better time to apply to some of the most competitive universities in the US. This contrarian sentiment is sure to relax acceptance rates and / or the number of offer letters the university issues. Do evaluate your chances with your Counselor though.
- Prepare a plan B. Which means have a set of applications ready for another country but don’t necessarily create a plan C or more. This can confuse more than facilitate.
- If immigration is the only reason you wanted to apply to universities, think again.
In case you already have an offer letter from a university in the US
- Meet your counselor to evaluate the net value of your move to the particular university / course.
- Speak to students already studying at the university to understand the sentiment and the culture
- Reason over rapture. Prepare another plan only after due consultation with your counselor (when students with more than 100 thousand dollars in scholarship — close to 50 per cent of the programme fees — approach for preparing a plan B, one wonders whether it’s even necessary.)
Remember, while there’s never a wrong time to do the right thing, it is important to decipher the right thing to do.
Indian students are known to be resilient, persevering, and innovative in their approach to situations and life. This is just one more test, don’t let this one have you trumped!
— The writer is Founder & Key
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