US universities
An incoming freshman moves into a campus dormitory at University of Colorado Boulder on August 18, 2020 in Boulder, Colorado. Source: Mark Makela/Getty Images/AFP

International students are still keen to move abroad despite travel concerns during COVID-19, according to a new survey by HousingAnywhere. Reported findings show 65% of respondents will not change their relocation plans — including destination or timing — despite worries about their health and safety.

The survey involved 110 respondents from different parts of the world who intend to move abroad between September 2020 and January 2021. They are international students and young professionals pursuing their dreams to move abroad.

Health and safety remain top of mind

Though 30% of respondents wanted to move “as soon as possible,” they are still concerned about the health risks of travelling during a pandemic. They want more information about the country’s medical system and handling of COVID-19, travel options to and within their destination country, as well as trustworthy news sources in their destination country. HousingAnywhere deduced that young people looking to move abroad require this information to gain control over their movement and well-being in a foreign country.

Another 34% of respondents showed no interest in moving abroad. An overwhelming 97% of this group cited COVID-related reasons for not wanting to go. Close to one-third (30.8%) said COVID-19 cases would have to drop before they would feel comfortable travelling, while 19.2% feared getting sick while travelling. Interestingly, 15.4% stated that the “irresponsible behaviour and general disregard for health and safety guidelines by others” held them back. Others would not travel until a vaccine was available, or the pandemic ended.

move abroad

Sanitisation is a major concern of people who want to move abroad during the pandemic. Source: Luis Robayo/AFP

Support required to move abroad

The survey also enquired on the type of support respondents needed from their landlord. Those about to move asked for COVID-19 supplies such as masks and gloves, as well as bikes at the property and pickup service at the airport so they don’t have to rely on public transport.

At the property, they ask for high-speed WiFi, home cleaning and sanitisation (or cleaning supplies so they can clean it themselves), and a 24-hour waiting period before the next tenant moves in. HomeAway surmised this as an indication that respondents are also “more likely to stay put if they are unsure that their new home will offer a safe and healthy environment.”

The report concluded, “Due to high enrolments in universities throughout Europe, we expect international students and young professionals to move abroad as they please. But only as soon as they feel safe enough to take on the travel, and stay in their new hometown.”

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