In the midst of the COVID-19 surge in India, stranded international students from the University of Wollongong are ‘anxious’ about the lack of information and clarity provided by the Australian government.
Asian International Students of Australia (AISA) Vice-President Navneet Mittal said international students in India are lacking support from the government regarding their university studies.
“The anxiety and stress levels of the students in India who have not stepped foot into Australia are very high because they don’t know anything about what they should be doing,” Mr Mittal said.
“Students feel like they have been betrayed because the university has taken the fees and nothing is happening.”
AISA is a not-for-profit organisation that is designed to help Asian international students in Australia deal with issues throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
The organisation has been relayed information to students in India and has sent medical equipment to charity groups based in India.
“We are in touch with students stuck in India, we have created a WhatsApp group and are doing regular Zoom meetings updating them on news from here,” Mr Mittal said.
“They have many questions and are trying to get in touch with the universities, but the replies can take up to three weeks.”
Audio: AISA Vice-President Navneet Mittal
Twenty-thousand international students are stranded in India with no clear timeline of when they will return to Australia.
Australian citizens and permanent residents are the primary candidates for the repatriation flights which have seen delays in recent weeks.
International UOW student, Vignesh Menon said despite the tough situation unfolding in India, the government and the university had helped him in a time of need.
“I couldn’t access my funds in India due to the lockdown, so the Australian government and UOW provided me with grants that helped me through.” Mr Menon said.
“I’m so thankful to be in Australia and alive because none of my friends back home are completely safe.”