On June 6, Shrinkhala Khatiwada, an architect and beauty pageant winner, tweeted a message to the US Embassy in Nepal. The message requested the embassy to open interview slots for F-1 visa applicants and diversity visa winners. Harvard University Graduate School of Design accepted Khatiwada for a Master217;s degree in Urban Planning. She expressed worry that F-1 visa and DV grant recipients will lose their awards if they fail to arrive this fall.
This is unfair: the consulates in South Asia’s other countries remain open, but the US consulate in Kathmandu is closed. Because of the uncertain possibility of getting a visa, we believe that all of us should leave our future to chance.
For over a month, no interview slots have been available. This has left thousands of students striving to find better opportunities abroad. Many people who have already been accepted to university have been unable to continue due to travel restrictions, and lockdowns.
Saying this, Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degrees (EMJMD) scholar Shreya Paudel has started a petition to the EU and nine other concerned authorities.
We are likely to miss enrollment for our courses if universities across Europe return to face-to-face learning in 2021, because of which we would lose our scholarship funding in August and September—which was all funded up to this point.
The petition demands that the Council of the European Union and the Delegations of the European Union expedite visa processing for study purposes, and allow vaccinated students to enter European countries.
Many other Paudel-like individuals are experiencing similar situations. Students who had come home for vacation were also stuck in Nepal.
To some students who aspire to study in the USA, the embassy in Nepal has not resumed interviews. The Embassy website claims to have started the limited visa processing.
Routine visa services and additional visa appointments have been suspended, a notice on the embassy’s website states. We will return to regular visa processing once we can safely do so.
Thousands of students aspiring to pursue their studies abroad are left in a lurch. Even those who have already acquired acceptance letters from the universities have not been able to proceed due to travel restrictions, and lockdowns.
The largest educational destinations for Nepalese students include the USA, UK, China, Canada, Germany, and other European countries.
Meanwhile, many Nepali students who were evacuated from China last year are unable to return to continue their studies. Students stranded abroad have used the internet to organize protests against the Chinese government. Nepali students have created a campaign on Twitter, too.
On Friday, on July 2, they issued an open letter to Xi Jinping and Oli KP Sharma, asking them to allow them to study in China.
It asks for authorities to take action on their behalf and to initiate a discussion with the Chinese government to facilitate their return.
After 16 months, we still don’t have an ETA, reads the letter. A significant number of us have majors and scholarships that need annual renewal. Returning keeps us from graduating and prevents us from following our career paths.