Some Singaporean students are planning to take a gap semester after the US announced that all foreign students must leave the country if their classes are fully online in the autumn.
Ms Shin Ning Chan, 20, a first-year undergraduate at the University of California, Berkeley, is planning not to enrol in the coming semester after the announcement was made on Monday.
Her university will be adopting a hybrid model – a mix of online and in-person classes.
Students can opt to take all their classes online, but Ms Shin prefers to have them in person.
“I’m not on scholarship and school fees are really expensive. It’s not worth paying so much for a remote semester.”
Her biggest worry is that her student visa could be terminated if she takes her classes online.
Fellow UC Berkeley undergraduate Ashley Yip, 20, is also considering taking a gap semester.
She said the hybrid model was announced only on June 18, which left foreign students with little time to prepare for the semester’s reopening on Aug 24.
“Housing leases are mostly taken up, or were already signed in June. Flights are also limited and plane tickets are extremely expensive,” said the second-year environmental science major.
But other students The Straits Times spoke to are waiting for more information from their universities.
Ms Nicole Lim, 25, who is doing a master’s in sustainability management at Columbia University, said her school is looking to go with the hybrid plan.
But she fears she might have to return to Singapore if her course switches to online mid-semester, in the event the pandemic worsens. “I will have to take classes in a completely different time zone, which is not easy because my classes are 4pm to 8pm EST (Eastern Standard Time), which is 4am to 8am in Singapore.”