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Episode Notes

Episode Title: College News Fit to Digest. August 22, 2020.

Episode summary introduction: Making sense of the College News of the week curated by Alma Matters. Coronavirus continues to drive the news. Shveta Bagade, College Counselor gives us her take on the news.

Topics discussed in this episode:

7-tips for International Students during COVID-19

  • #1 Minimize Expenses [1:45]
  • #2 Get an Insurance [2:43]
  • #3 Travel only if you must [4:17]
  • #4 Look for Safe Accommodation [5:57]
  • #5 Keep Building your Resume [7:15]
  • #6, #7 Communication & School Focus are Key! [8:18]
  • One more thing: We have different comfort levels [11:09]

Our Guest: Shveta Bagade, College Counselor based in Silicon Valley California.

Resources referred to in this episode:

Episode Transcript: Please visit Episode Transcript.


Episode Transcript

Transcript of the episode’s audio.

Venkat  0:12 

Hello, and welcome to yet another episode of College News Fit to Digest. Every week, we pick a few news items relating to US Colleges and discuss it with our own Shveta Bagade, College Counselor. Alma Matters curates the news daily relating to US Colleges, and makes it available on alma matters.io/coronavirus. We pick a few news items from that curated list, and discuss it every week here in these podcasts. Now, without further ado, on with the podcast!

Venkat  1:01  

Hey Shveta!

Shveta  1:02  

Hi Venkat, how are you today?

Venkat  1:05  

Doing well, doing well. I think the weather's looking better after that fire thingy yesterday. [California fires]

Shveta  1:13  

Yes. Now, deal with the fires, but that's okay.

Venkat  1:17  

Yeah. Less smoke today though, so that's good.

Venkat  1:22  

Okay, so I think for today we wanted to talk about just one topic, I guess some news like a news article about tips for international students during COVID-19. And maybe we can just review those steps.

What do you think?

Shveta  1:45  [#1 Minimize Expenses]

Oh, yeah, yeah, no, this is a great hitlist out of the College Post Article.

Um, I feel like some of these might be obvious, but it's a good reminder for a lot of the kids and some are not so obvious.

So we can just jump right into the first one.

Of course for international students, expense is, you know, a big one. And if we can figure out how to minimize their expenses, it's really important. So it's always one of the things they mentioned is having an emergency budget and things like that. But it's also looking to see how you can bring down your costs with maybe scholarships or part-time jobs or something to help bring the costs down in that time, that's definitely the first one.

Venkat  2:43  [#2 Get an Insurance]

The second one's talking about some kind of insurance.

Shveta  2:47  

Oh, yeah. So this insurance one is, is a tricky one. In the US when you enroll, no matter what your statuses you have, you're required to have a health insurance plan.

But it's important to understand what your health insurance plan covers. So if you're, if you're already enrolled, if I'm an international student and I'm enrolled in a university, I would find out if the insurance does cover stuff for COVID.

You know, spending $50, a test or whatever it might be on your own can get expensive, and forget about if you need to actually have treatment. So I, if I'm an international student, that's a question you want to make sure on.

 And then there's also side benefits of the insurance. There's mental health support, actual, you know, General Care that you need to have. So it's really good to find out how much of that health plan covers, because some of these plans the plans vary from college to college.

And if I'm a new international student, that's coming to the US and enrolling in a university, I would definitely compare the plans as part of my decision before I select a university, because that could play into extra costs, which goes back to your original one, which is minimizing your expenses.

Venkat  4:10

Got it.

Shveta  4:12

Yeah, it's crazy.

Shveta  4:17  [#3 Travel only if you must]

And then, of course, it rolls right into, you know, the need for travel. Thinking twice before traveling. Because, you know, as we saw with the very abrupt shutdown of universities, a lot of these international students were just sort of stuck.

So you have to figure out what you can and cannot do, based on what's happening in that moment. So, and that also ties back into the insurance as well. If you have travel insurance for flights that you've already booked, and then maybe you want to change it, making sure they do allow that. On some of these travel insurance. companies don't make things easy, or they don't make it obvious. So it's definitely good to ask these really deep questions.

Venkat  5:09  

Yeah, and by the way colleges, even now for the fall semester, also seem to be going through the start and stop mode, or start and pause mode or whatever they're calling it. And so, yeah, so I think, definitely think, probably more than twice before you travel.

Shveta  5:28  

Yeah, yeah. I heard about three big universities having issues with COVID and making really abrupt plans.

So I, unfortunately, I don't think it's going to stop with them. And it should be interesting how this plays out between now. And by the time all universities are open, which would be, I believe, end of September, most of the universities will be open.

Venkat  5:51


Venkat   5:57  [#4 Look for Safe Accommodation]

I guess the fourth one is find safe accommodation. I guess. ties back to the things we've been talking about.

Shveta  6:03  

Yeah, I mean, you know, I always encourage students, if they're looking for locations to pick, find locations where you might have family or friends that you know, you can kind of rely on for help. This obviously, finding a place to live is a whole another level of help. But having [a]  kind of a backup plan for where to stay, if things get shut down, and you have to go online, or you can't travel home because the, for international students if the country is not allowing people from the US to come in, that can also be an issue.

So it's really good to have, some universities are really being proactive about that for international students, but it's definitely another great question to ask the university you're attending. Like, what are alternative plans if things do shut down? And I would definitely recommend try to get that in an email. So it's written somewhere. Just good practice.

Venkat   7:15  [#5 Keep Building your Resume]

Then, I guess the fifth one says build a better resume.

Shveta  7:19  

Yeah, so there's there's three more that all kind of the kind of tied together and more focused about the student themselves than on the school.

So, you know, obviously, building a better resume is, is always going to be a challenge for international students. So they have to kind of, you know, take the extra steps to find a job, an internship, research opportunities, things like that.

Right now, things are virtual. So if that plays in their favor in trying to find things, um, and you kind of have to like, sit back and say what the reality is of your situation and understand that you may not get the perfect or even the best internship or research opportunity you want and sometimes you kind of just have to go with what you've got.

Venkat  8:18  [#6, #7 Communication & School Focus are Key!]

Then the sixth one says communication is key. What are they talking about?

Shveta   8:23  

Yeah, so that that's a, that's an interesting one. Because, you know, students just think they're on their own in general, and probably international students feel that more so.

But, you know, it's, that is the opportune time when things are happening and things are changing, and call the university go to the offices, find out what your options are.

It can, a lot of times they are extremely helpful and they have solutions or they can at least guide you in the right direction to solutions to your concerns or issues. So keeping that line of communication with your university, don't assume it's closed. I think that's what happens to a lot of college students. They think they're on their own and you're not. That's what the university is for.

And then of course, that kind of ties in to Number 7, the final one, which is stay focused on school. If you happen to be doing online schooling, which is going to probably be the most students right now, right? It's easy to not have a routine.

And so force yourself to have a routine Get up, get dressed like you would, if you're walking into class on, get your breakfast and then start your day kind of thing. Don't just assume, oh, because I'm home, I can just take it easy. And then take advantage of your breaks.

If you have a two or three hour break between classes. Go outside and take a little walk around the neighborhood where you live. If you happen to be on a campus somewhere, just go for a bike ride or something just to kind of change the monotony of being in your home all the time.

It's, that's number seven for I think, for everybody, no matter what your situation, whether you're a student or you know, employed is a hard one to do, and you kind of really have to push yourself and get to that point.

Venkat  10:26  

Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. It's a state of mind keeping the state of mind.

Fabulous, I think I think these are very good, you know, down to earth kind of tips, right? I mean, basically, sound fundamentals. And, and it's a lot of it is probably relevant for all kinds of students, not just international students.

Venkat  10:55

Very good. Thanks for reviewing these tips for our audience, and...

Shveta  11:03  

Yeah, before we, before we wrap it up Venkat, Can I comment on one more thing?

Venkat 11:08


Shveta  11:09  [One more thing: We have different comfort levels]

Quick little comment is, you know, COVID-19 if it hasn't shown anything it has shown one thing is, everyone has different comfort levels.

So ultimately, every student has to do what works for them. So make sure the decisions you're making is not pressure from other people around you, and that you're doing it because this is, is what's going to work for you in this moment.

Venkat  11:36  

I absolutely agree. I absolutely agree. I think this is not, this is not the time to show that you're brave or that people will think if you do something else, they might think you're weak or you're soft or whatever. I mean, do it because it's what you feel safe.

Shveta  11:52  


Venkat  11:56  

Very good. Excellent point. So thank you, as always And I look forward to chatting with you again about this next week.

So for now, take care. Be safe.

Shveta  12:08

Thank you. You too. Take care.

Venkat  12:10

Thank you. Bye Bye.

Venkat  12:17

Hi again, hope you enjoyed this conversation with Shveta Bagade on this week's College News Fit to Digest. Stay connected with us by Subscribing to Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or Spotify or visit anchor.fm forward slash almamatters [anchor.fm/almamatters].

These podcasts are brought to you by almamatters.io. Till we meet again, take care and be safe.

Thank you.

Summary Keywords

College, Universities, Expenses, Travel, Insurance, Accomodation, Communication International students, Alma Matters, podcasts, COVID-19, Coronavirus

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