COVID-19 Ruined My Overseas Study Plans: Is It Really The End Of The World Though?

The COVID-19 situation  has tremendously affected decisions for all walks of life. One significant group of people heavily defeated by COVID-19 would be those who wish or are currently enrolled in an overseas university. Due to the disruption of many overseas study plans, students are feeling dejected, demoralised and unsure about their next step – to wait or to switch their route. To better support students in such a difficult period, the Ministry of Education (MOE) alongside Autonomous Universities (AUs) in Singapore are working closely to provide aid to Singaporean students with viable options for their higher education plans amidst COVID-19!

There are 3 main groups of university students affected: those fresh out of pre-university, those already in overseas universities and would like to switch to a different university altogether and those already in overseas universities but would still like to stay in the same university.

For Those Fresh Out Of The Pre-University Education Oven

Imagine leaving pre-university education and attaining your dream score eligible to go to a prestigious overseas university but COVID-19 had to ruin that for you. Years of hard work built up to simply nothing. While students can choose to certainly harbour those sad thoughts, it is only wise to pick yourself up and think of Plan B. When life throws you with lemons, make lemonade! MOE has teamed up with AUs to extend their application window by a whole 2 months so that students who were once planning to study abroad have an option to apply for a local AU instead. It might not seem like a very nice second option, but it is definitely worth considering especially because staying in Singapore might be safer during this COVID-19 period.

Hence, to accommodate for more students in AUs (since there would definitely be more students applying due to the change of their overseas plans), AUs have provided about 2,000 more offers this year across many courses!

For Those Already In An Overseas University: Transferring Back to Singapore Universities

Another very common group of students facing a dilemma right now would be those already enrolled and studying in an overseas university. To have to decide to ultimately drop out and switch to study locally is a painful decision but might be a necessity if online classes aren’t effective or just not possible. Students in such situations may directly write in to the AU’s admission offices! Applications will definitely be processed and assessed on a case-by-case basis including details about possible credit transfers to acknowledge progress students have made in their overseas universities.

Due to the COVID-19 situation, AUs in Singapore are prepared to take in as many students as they can accommodate so that Singaporean students can seek shelter during this turbulent period and still pursue higher education without the neglect of their health.

For Those Already In An Overseas University: Taking A Break Meaningfully

The last group of students would be those in an overseas university and prefer to still continue education in the same university when things get better. For such students, MOE hopes to help them take this break meaningfully by offering Continuing Education and Training (CET) modular courses offered by the AUs. These CET courses range from areas like data science, finance, entrepreneurship, cybersecurity and more! The good things about these courses are that they’re short and industry-relevant courses. So even in a short time, you’re still spending it wisely by exposing yourself to some new skills!

Though if these aren’t really your good cup of tea, students may also try to apply to enrol in an AU for just one semester to continue their learning temporarily in another university. This would require discussion with their home (overseas) university about credit transfers as well but it might be possible so why not! If students are interested, they may approach the AU they would like to consider directly as well.

If you haven’t already realised, MOE doesn’t like to leave any Singaporean kid behind and it’s just like FamilyTutor! We, as a home tuition agency in Singapore don’t want to leave your child behind in this education journey so we are here to continually update you on any latest news and opinions as well as provide an excellent range of tutors to meet your child’s needs!

For your information, the ‘Current Affairs’ series covers the latest news and developments in the realm of education, added with a dash of discussion and a sprinkle of opinion!



Zoe is an undergraduate student in Singapore who loves thinking deeply and translating them into writing. She hopes her reflective opinions and sound advice weaved into relevant articles will be useful for you in one way or another!

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