Based on travel advice from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the need for planning on the part of both students and the institutions, Universities Norway recommends as a general rule that exchanges and short-term student mobility (study trips) for the autumn semester 2020 are cancelled. The Government is cautioning against non-essential travel to all countries. The travel advice is valid at least until August 20.
The pandemic situation is unpredictable, and at this point we are unable to say with certainty what the consequences might be for teaching and opportunities for travelling. The UiS emergency response management has therefore decided to cancel all student exchange in the autumn semester 2020.
“Cancelling these upcoming exchanges has not been an easy decision to make, but we have done so based on an overall risk assessment. We are committed to giving our students predictability and reliable conditions for their exchange stays, both in terms of academic outcome, health and finances. Unfortunately, we are unable to make any guarantees in this respect in the current situation. Students on overseas exchanges therefore risk having their stays cut short, like we saw in March”, says Astrid Birgitte Eggen, Prorector for education at the University of Stavanger.
Students who were due to go on an exchange in the autumn 2020 have been informed about the cancellation by the international office at UiS. The academic environments at UiS will compensate for this by planning a semester of high-quality courses for students who are affected by this.
A decision about the admission of new international students on master’s programmes will be made next week.
Collaborating universities cancelling exchange
Several of UiS’ partner universities worldwide have announced that they will not accept neither incoming nor outgoing international exchanges due to the uncertain global situation.
Many countries have also closed their borders, which makes it difficult for students to have their visa applications processed in time for departure.
Travel restrictions and infection control measures
Other obstacles include the question of whether or not students on overseas exchanges will be able to return home in the event of a spike in infections.
This uncertainty also applies to the Nordic countries, and a decision is not expected until June 15 at the earliest – too late for students who have been promised a clarification by June 2.