65% of overseas students living in Ireland fear having insufficient funds to live on – Covid-19 survey from SEDA College

  • 78% of English language students here say they are very stressed and worried about the current situation
  • 49% say they are happy to stay in Ireland and have no plans currently to return home, while 26% say they are planning to go home, if possible, should the situation continue to get worse in Ireland
  • 16,600 students from other colleges all over Ireland and the world have now signed up to SEDA College’s online classes which were set up to help those whose courses have been affected by the Covid-19 crisis

Students from abroad who came to Ireland to study English are particularly vulnerable during the Covid-19 crisis, with a large proportion, 65%, worried about how they will be able to continue to pay their rent and food costs. That’s according to a recent survey conducted by SEDA College, a Dublin-based educational institution which offers English language courses to 1,200 Dublin based students from 40 different countries.

For the purposes of the survey, 193 overseas students were asked a series of questions about their accommodation, employment, family and educational concerns.

Over half of the students surveyed took up employment when they arrived in Ireland. 13% have retained their jobs. 19% have lost their jobs, but are entitled to receive the Government’s Covid-19 assistance payment, while another 17% also lost their jobs, but are not entitled to receive any additional state supports. As a consequence of this, just over two thirds of students, 78%, say they are stressed and very worried about the current situation. 30%, meanwhile, say they can’t pay their rent and are anxious about being evicted. 56% say their accommodation situation is ok for the moment.

Despite being away from their native countries and families during the Covid-19 global pandemic, just under 50% still say that they are happy to stay in Ireland and have no plans to return home, while 7% say they want to return home as soon as possible. 26% say they will stay in Ireland for the short-term would prefer to go home quite soon, if possible

How students can continue to learn English is also a cause for anxiety. The findings from this survey has informed the basis for SEDA College’s continual online support service for students.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic and preventative measures announced by the Irish Government, SEDA College closed on 12 March, and has continued to make online resources available to their 1,200 Dublin based students who are from 40 different countries.

However, many other English language colleges in Ireland and further afield have closed abruptly due to Covid-19, offering no alternative arrangements to students. As a result, SEDA College has now stepped up to make access to its broadcasted online classes available to all foreign students attending any English language college in Ireland or abroad – not just those at SEDA College in Dublin.

Already 16,600 students from other schools across Ireland and the world have taken up the offer. This figure is expected to rise substantially in the coming days.

The survey shows that just over a quarter of students, 26%, are frustrated with having to learn online, as they feel they learn English better by attending classes in person. However, the majority, 51%, are happy to continue with SEDA College’s online classes until the Government takes a decision to re-open schools and colleges.

Tiago Mascarenhas, CEO of SEDA College, said: “Many schools across Ireland and beyond have shut without offering a plan B to language students, but it’s more important than ever that students are able to continue studying and improving their English. We already have a very comprehensive online platform in place and this can be accessed remotely and while on-the-go. We currently have 200,000 students from around the world registered on this platform, and we’re delighted to be in a position to open it to others who need our help at this challenging time. The service will be made freely available to all students, no matter where they have previously been studying.”

“We are also assisting our students as much as possible to ensure that they are staying safe and well in these difficult times.”

The free broadcast classes are held throughout the day and can be accessed here.