China has emerged as an educational hub for students aspiring to study MBBS. This degree, in particular, is famous with students coming from South Asia – Pakistan, India and Bangladesh in particular. Due to limited seats and the high cost to study medicine in their own home countries, students are forced to look outside their borders to find esteemed Universities which can offer them admissions in MBBS at affordable costs. China acts as an answer to their prayer and welcomes thousands of such students every year, the majority of them coming from the Sub-continent.
All was well but then arrived COVID-19. With the arrival of COVID-19, borders in China just like in other parts of the world closed shut to everybody including the international students. At first, the epidemic seemed to be over in a matter of months, but as time passed no news of opening up of borders to international students came. This was a worrying prospect to international students because medics unlike other majors need to perform dissections and experiments which are essential to their learning, without which the medics won’t get practical knowledge of anatomy.
Online classes were adapted and students continued to study, however now it has been almost 2 years since the borders have remained shut, and this is taking a toll on students studying MBBS at various Chinese Universities. Even though they have been attending classes online, they haven’t been getting any practice which will have an adverse effect on the quality of doctors being produced, until and unless steps are taken to counter this issue.
A few suggestions have been presented like allowing international students especially those students who have got admission to Study MBBS in China in the past and the ones who will continue taking admissions to Study MBBS in China, to travel to China after getting vaccinated. China has already been a country that has done the best in controlling the Covid pandemic and that too at huge costs. At the arrival of the epidemic, China was completely shut down in order to block the spread of the disease which had a positive effect of controlling the spread.
Also, with great efforts, the Chinese scientists came up with vaccines to help people get immunity against the COVID-19. China has actively been vaccinating its population with targets to have vaccinated 80% of the population by mid-2022. Having getting vaccinated the Chinese nation is believed to be immune to COVID, after which opening up the borders is expected to those international students who have been vaccinated too. This too will however need caution, as mutations in viruses keep coming up. Another pandemic will cause huge disasters.
The challenge to international students continues to exist for now, as access to the internet in far-flung areas is another issue for international students living in remote areas. Time difference between China and other countries also plays a role in students being unable to attend the classes at times, examples being a time difference of 7 hours between Nigeria and China. At times it becomes practically impossible for international students to cope with the time difference.
For senior student’s different kinds of challenges prevail. For those studying in their 4th or 5 years of MBBS, students are unable to go for rotations to the hospital. This leads to them having no practical knowledge or skills to check, analyze and treat patients (Under the supervision of their professor) and it also denies them an experience of working and facing emergencies in real-life situation. This will produce a generation of doctors with limited practical skills, having far-reaching consequences. On the other hand, for the students who have already graduated, their belongings still remain in their dormitories. This even though not a big issue, still remains to be an issue.
Even though Universities have done their best to try to cope with the COVID situation, the quality of education has decreased due to a number of factors including the ones explained above. International students have been asking their universities about the possibility of their return to China in order to catch up with the loss in their education, however, no timeline has yet been provided and it doesn’t seem possible for the international students to return to China in 2021 either.
When can international students return to China?, has been a question haunting all the international students, which doesn’t seem to be answered anytime soon. International students continue showing their frustration by trending hashtags like #takeusbacktoChina on various social media platforms. Even though there are challenges which international students already studying in China and fresh international students willing to study MBBS in China face alike, the pandemic is a natural phenomenon that is out of the control of mankind. All students who study MBBS in China should watch more online practical videos, join all their classes and actively participate with questions in their online classes and try joining hospitals in their own home countries to cope with the lack of practical knowledge. Let us all stay strong and pray for the pandemic to end at the earliest. The latest news about when international students can return to China will be updated at the link given below, so stay safe, get vaccinated and keep yourself updated.