"I am not sure if it is favourable to even imagine living here."
The UK has seen a number of major strikes across various public sectors.
This includes hospitals and railways. But the main one that is affecting students are universities.
Among the students affected are Indian international students, who have uprooted their lives to travel to a foreign country with the expectation of the highest rate of education.
However, with current strike action planned sporadically between February 2023 to April 2023, Indian students are battling whether their university experience will be worth the sacrifice.
One Indian student, aged 24, did not anticipate having a tough and stressful time when she arrived in London from Jaipur in September 2022.
She had to sacrifice taking out a student loan to enrol in the London School of Economics, where she is pursuing a master’s degree in sociology.
Among her expenses in the UK is rent which consumes a sizable chunk of her budget at one of the LSE student halls where she resides.
She hopes to continue her research in London as part of her postgraduate ambitions.
However, she is now unsure, given the cost of living issue and the extraordinary number of strikes, after spending some time in the UK.
She said: “It is just a lot of financial strain.
“I came to this country with a lot of hope but given the strikes in major sectors, I am not sure if it is favourable to even imagine living here.
“Seven of my classes (including lectures and seminars) have been cancelled, making a huge impact on my learning.”
The master’s student’s suffering is shared by other university students.
Many students were unprepared for the university experience they are facing with strike action casting a dark shadow on their dream university experience and grades.
To make matters even more difficult, they must also contend with a growing cost of living that is exacerbated by a dearth of student housing and a hazy housing market.
Some people have reduced their grocery spending and frequency of bar trips, while others have switched to one meal per day.
Furthermore, the majority of students are not working part-time jobs to make ends meet.
According to the Student Loans Company, the number of undergraduates quitting increased by over a quarter last year in the UK.
For one Indian student, ambulance strikes have greatly impacted her chronic condition.
On the day ambulance services halted in some UK regions, she urgently required ambulance assistance.
Unfortunately, as a result of not being able to receive the help she required, her condition flared up.
Upon making it to urgent care services, the student was informed that the wait time to be seen by a doctor was 7-8 hours.
Consequently, she left and ended up going back to her home.
On her experience, she shared: “It was a terrible and sickening feeling to see the window for help when you needed it the most.
“As someone aware of what exact steps need to be taken in such situations, I was in a much better position.
“But what about others who do not know and get no help in such times?
“I was unable to book an appointment with my GP and therefore I had to ask my parents to send me medicines from India – which are not only expensive but also take a substantial amount of time to arrive.”
In England, tens of thousands of nurses and Royal College of Nursing members have gone on strike in a dispute over pair.
Welsh members of the Royal College of Midwives and National Health Service (NHS) physiotherapists joined the picket line this week for more than 12 hours each.
The impact of austerity on the NHS and the daily job of nursing staff persists, despite the government’s claim that the NHS has been exempt from the drastic cuts to public services made over the preceding decade.
In 150 universities between February and April, more than 70,000 professors, librarians, cleaning staff, and other university officials plan to strike for 18 days.
Jo Grady leads the University and College Union (UCU), which is in an uproar over a wage offer of 5% and proposed pension modifications.
The majority of students don’t find the strike’s effects to be shocking.
Instead, they are upset with the government’s complicity, absolute rigidity, and the lacklustre political sense that has resulted from it not listening to their needs.
The struggle of Indian students and recent graduates is consistent with the social, political and economic crises in the UK, which has profoundly changed people’s lives as a result of the general increase in inflation and labour strikes.
The difficulties that Indian students face have a significant impact on their lives, education and careers.