Vaccine Rollouts Impact Popularity of Study Destinations

In recent years, international students have selected study destinations based on post-study work opportunities and long-term immigration pathways. These factors remain essential for attracting international students to global universities. However, the vaccination rates in study destinations have also become a significant factor affecting international students’ movement.

As the country’s vaccination rate increases, the transmission of COVID-19 decreases, leading to herd immunity, lesser lockdowns, more open economies, and a higher possibility of in-person learning at universities. As per an IDP Connect survey from October 2020, 56% of international students were likely to choose destinations that offered in-person learning.

At least 60%-72% of a country’s population must be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity. Each country faces different hurdles in this regard. Among the top English-language study destinations, Canada has the lowest vaccination rate. Only 2.6% of the Canadian population has been vaccinated by February 2021, compared to 10% in the USA and 15% in the UK. Infection rates in the latter two countries have remained higher throughout the pandemic but are gradually declining.

Schools in the UK are likely to reopen by 8th March, while the USA expects herd immunity to be underway by summer – provided above 50% of the population is vaccinated. Vaccine distribution in the UK is far more widespread than in any other part of Europe. Vaccine rollouts in Europe are also complicated due to skepticism about vaccination in several regions.

Currently, an average of 1.3 million vaccines is being administered daily in the USA. In addition to this, the Biden administration’s new relaxed immigration policies are making the country more attractive to international students – which may prove to be a challenge for foreign enrollments in Canadian universities.

Australia’s border restrictions have impacted schools and universities’ ability to attract international students. However, the government aims to vaccinate 4% or more of the population every week and has announced that international students can be eligible for free vaccinations. It will help Australian universities increase enrollment.

New Zealand will receive vaccine deliveries only by late March, and it may take a year for the entire population to access vaccines. However, New Zealand universities have partnered with the University Consortium (headquartered in the UK) to create a pipeline of international students who can study in New Zealand at the opportune time. It will allow students in 30 countries to learn from home – starting March – under a pathway program that leads to an NZ Bachelor’s or Master’s degree.

There are a variety of options worth exploring, and planning ahead of time is a wise move. If you plan to study abroad, consult experienced professionals who have studied enrollment trends and help you identify the ideal country, course, and university for your overseas education goals. To create your academic trajectory and post-study immigration plan, contact +91 8595338595 or write to