Get Ready for 100% In-Person Instruction!

The pandemic meant huge adjustments for us all. Students wanting to live their dream of studying abroad found this time very challenging and many had to adapt or change their plans to fit with Covid regulations and travel restrictions. To help these students, the United States allowed some flexibility to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP).

Earlier this year, in May, it was announced that the flexibilities had ended. However, students already enrolled could continue to study under those conditions until the end of the school year.

As we get ready to start the new academic year, let’s look at what is changing and how this impacts present and future Zoni students.

What is the SEVP?

As many of you are already aware, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) is a program administered by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). It decides which schools may issue the I-20 forms needed to get an F or M visa. The main goal of the SEVP is to ensure that foreign students and exchange visitors maintain their legal immigration status while studying in the United States.

What were the flexibilities?

During Covid-19, the DHS allowed for a number of flexibilities to the SEVP rules and requirements. This meant students who met the then-SEVP guidance could start or continue their courses online during this time. International students could:

  • ● Take online courses while maintaining their F-1 visa status..

  • ● Maintain their F-1 status while studying full-time online.

  • ● Keep their status even if they temporarily returned to their home countries and continued to study online there.

  • ● Take English language proficiency tests online.

  • ● Begin their programs online from their home countries and retain their F-1 status.

What is changing?

Earlier this year, the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency was declared over. At the same time, DHS announced the end of the special flexibilities granted to international students. For the 2023-24 academic year, international students holding an F non-immigrant status, and all schools accepting students with this visa type, must comply with the rules in place before the pandemic.

This means F-1 students studying language courses may not study online to meet their fulltime enrollment requirement.

This also means that schools are not allowed to issue an initial I-20 to a foreign student planning to enroll in a program of study that contains online components in above the set limits.

How this impacts Zoni students

The end of COVID-19 flexibilities means that all students studying on an F-1 visa with an online or virtual component must get ready to return to campus! New students will also be required to attend (almost) all classes in person to attain and keep their F-1 status.

Your Zoni representative will let you know the schedule details for your in-person lessons and if you have any questions, you are welcome to contact your campus manager or your academic advisor at the campus in which you are enrolled. They will be happy to help.

The benefits of in-person lessons

Although adjusting back to 100% in-person lessons may take a little getting used to for some of you, there are so many benefits to studying in a class.

  1. 1. In-person learning allows for real-time, face-to-face interaction between students and their classmates and their teacher. This makes getting immediate feedback and practicing verbal communication easier.

  2. 2. Students learn to understand non-verbal cues such as body language, facial expressions, and gestures. These aspects can help students determine the meanings of specific words and their connotations.

  3. 3. Students can practice working with people from different cultures, backgrounds and levels of English. This can be done online but is easier face-to-face.

  4. 4. Teachers can better gauge individual students' needs and adapt their teaching strategies to provide more personalized support to them.

  5. 5. Studying in a classroom provides a structured learning environment with fewer distractions.

  6. 6. In-person classes help students establish routines and develop time management skills, preparing them for future studies and/or their careers.

  7. 7. Students can make friends with their classmates and this can help them to stay motivated.

  8. 8. In-person learning promotes active engagement. This means that students are more likely to participate in discussions, ask questions, and collaborate with classmates when they are seated in a room with their peers.

Zoni Live for Virtual Study Abroad

There are so many reasons to get excited about in-person classes, but what about if you cannot attend classes in the United States? Zoni Live - our online virtual school - will continue to offer classes at many different levels to students living outside the U.S. (who therefore do not need a student visa). If your dream is to study English abroad and you want to get a head start before you make the journey, Zoni Live classes are the perfect preparation! Contact Zoni for more information about our virtual class options and how to enroll.

The flexibilities to the SEVP were very welcome and necessary during the pandemic. Now that COVID-19 is behind us, we are excited to take the final steps in returning to normal life. All Zoni teachers, staff and current in-person students are thrilled to welcome virtual students back into our campuses! We look forward to seeing you in person very soon!

If you would like to know more about Zoni’s in-person language courses, you can visit our website, For information about our virtual classes (for students who will study outside the United States), please You can also call us at +1 (212) 736-9000 with any questions or to talk about how we can help you reach your English language learning dreams!

535 8th Ave, New York, NY 10018