study abroad

A spike in Covid-19 cases is pushing institutions back into the e-learning mode of 2020. Here’s how the Omicron variant of Covid-19 is affecting the study abroad plans of students across the world.

The Omicron variant threat is looming large throughout the world, and higher education institutions in the UK, US, and all other popular destinations are recalibrating strategies and guidelines to tackle the spread of the new variant on campus. These developments will have a considerable impact on the plans of Indian students planning to study abroad in Spring 2022.


The omicron coronavirus variant has raised concerns among countries globally. The World Health Organization (WHO) has cautioned about the virulence of the new variant, which is fast spreading across the world. Universities and colleges in major study abroad destinations like the US and UK are preparing for the potential surge in cases predicted in January-February 2022.

From transitioning to fully online classes for spring semester 2022 to mandating vaccine booster doses and extending mask mandates, universities and colleges are proactively working to curb the spread of the new variant on their campuses.

But, what do the changes entail for Indian study abroad aspirants? Let’s find out!

Read | NEET 2022 Preparation – Syllabus, Exam Pattern & Important Topics

Impact Analysis

The demographics of the study abroad landscape will be affected differently as the new variant spreads. To determine the impact of changes in guidelines and protocols, we must divide the study abroad cohort to determine how students who are traveling for the first time for spring semester 2022 will be affected, versus those who are currently on campus.

For students on campus, the dynamics are already changing. A large number of higher education institutions across the US have mandated their students to get vaccinated against Covid-19. With the emergence of the new omicron variant and its much concerning virulence, many institutions are pivoting to mandate getting a booster shot for students, staff, and faculty.

Even the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has strengthened the recommendation for the booster dose of the Covid-19 vaccine in response to the spread of the new variant.

Harvard University, MIT, Bentley University, Yale University, and many other premier institutions in the US have made booster shots compulsory for eligible students, faculty, and staff members before they return on campus for the spring semester. So, if you are someone studying in the US or planning to fly for the spring semester of 2022, check whether your college has this protocol in place.

MBBS Abroad Admissions | Click Here To Get MBBS Admissions Abroad At Very Low Fees

Furthermore, a spike in cases is pushing institutions back into the e-learning mode of 2020. Many universities across the US, including Harvard, Cornell (which have confirmed cases of omicron), and George Washington University have decided to switch to online exams and cancel in-person gatherings to curb the spread of the new variant.

Universities in the UK are putting together stringent guidelines and adhering to the Higher Education Covid-19 guidance laid down by the Department for Education, effective from 29th November 2021.

Indian students planning to travel to the UK for higher studies should prepare themselves to adapt to virtual learning as cases spike in the country due to the omicron variant.

Evolving Travel Trajectories

For Indian students flying to the UK and US for the spring semester, the waning December came bearing worries of the surge in omicron cases. Anyone traveling to the UK above 12 years of age has to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test, even if they are fully vaccinated. Students can go for a PCR or lateral flow test. However, the test must be taken only two days before the departure to the UK.

Upon arrival, a timeline of two days is allowed to book another test, which must be a PCR test. The test should be booked before travel and should be bought privately from a government-approved list of providers. Travelers are also required to self-isolate as they await their test results, regardless of their vaccination status. Additionally, everyone traveling to the UK must fill in the passenger locator form not more than 48 hours before their arrival.

Read | NEET 2022 Preparation – Syllabus, Exam Pattern & Important Topics

For Indian students traveling to the US, as per the recent guidelines effective from December 6, 2021, all international air passengers traveling to the United States and who are 2 years of age or older, will be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 viral test administered within no more than one day before their flight. This protocol sits regardless of the vaccination status of the individual.

Like the UK and US, many higher education destinations such as Australia, Germany, New Zealand, etc. have put revised travel guidelines in place.

Return Of The 2020 Normal?

Just when the world was recovering from the devastating impact of the second wave that devoured the world early this year, the emergence of this new and fast-spreading variant felt nothing short of a deja vu. Colleges and universities are being data smart and doing all they can to prevent the spread of this virus on campus. But this change entails the brutal return of social distancing, virtual classes, and stricter travel guidelines.

Join our Telegram Channel for more such news articles, preparation strategies, and more.

Indian students intending to study abroad in the spring semester of 2022 or already at the campus in foreign institutions must remain abreast of all recent developments with regards to university protocols and travel guidelines.


Read all the latest news articles HERE.

Welcome to Career Advice.

Want Help With Abroad Admissions?