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International students rethinking plans to study in Australia if not allowed to return by second semester

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Almost a quarter of international university students who are enrolled in Australia are still overseas and it's feared many may not come back.


International students stuck in China are pleading with the Australian government to let them return in time for the start of semester two in July, saying their education and careers are at risk.

Chinese student Greta Fai was due to return to Melbourne on 21 March - one day after Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a ban on all non-permanent residents or citizens entering the country in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus.


Since then, she has been attending her classes online from her home in Shanghai.

"I don’t feel engaged, I feel more comfortable studying on campus. The internet connection here is not stable and we need a VPN to access the university website," she told SBS News.

The experience has forced her to rethink her plans for the rest of the year. 

"I think I will defer for a semester if this travel ban continues... after I've experienced the online tutorials, I don't think it's suitable for me." 

International students pay a premium to attend Australian universities, but many have been left wondering whether it is worth it if the travel ban continues to keep them away from campus.