Several students studying in foreign universities, who had come to India for a short vacation, are now stuck in different cities. Classes are to commence soon, but the students are unable to book tickets and have been left in the lurch.
Many of them have visas expiring in the months of June and July and have to get back before that date as they are required to apply for visa extension at the immigration office in their respective countries.
Students studying in many European countries have their examinations in the third week of June. Some others are required to be present to defend their Master’s thesis. “Failure to reach in time will result in many of us losing an academic year while adding to our financial debts,” said a group of Indian students who study in Germany in a statement.
Many students also said interviews for internships and jobs have been put off or cancelled as they could not return in time. The students also said their savings were diminishing because of payment of rent, insurance, and loans, and the rates of Air India flights were not affordable.
Amrutha Varshini, an M.Sc. student from Berlin, Germany, said she had come to Bengaluru on March 12 and had scheduled a return flight on April 15, but it was cancelled because of the lockdown. “A one-way ticket costs around ₹90,000 and it is very difficult for students to shell out so much money on tickets.” She said that she was supposed to intern in July and was pressed for time to return to Germany.
Another student, from Brussels in Belgium, said she has written multiple letters to the Ministry of External Affairs and Air India as her flight scheduled in March was cancelled. “I had booked a flight from New Delhi to Paris, but later had to cancel it because in Europe you can enter another country only if there is no direct flight to your country. After I booked the ticket to Paris, I saw a flight to Brussels. So I had booked that flight, but have still not got any refund or update on my cancelled flight to Paris,” she said.