Charles University ready to welcome Erasmus students in winter semester

Photo: European Commission

Every year, thousands of foreign students come to study to the Czech Republic within the Erasmus programme. To what extent were their studies affected by the Covid-19 outbreak? And what are their prospects for the upcoming academic year? I discussed these questions with Ivana Herglová from Charles University, which accepts around 1900 Erasmus students each year:

Charles University, photo: Kristýna Maková

“By the time Covid-19 became a problem in March of this year, there were approximately 1,200 students within the Erasmus programme here at Charles University, according to our estimates.

“Out of those, many decided to return home. But there were still around 500 Erasmus students staying here, at least in March and April.

“Now in June, which was originally the end of the examination period, there are still foreign students coming to our office and some students are also returning from their home countries.

“This is actually not just for academic reasons, but is also with the fact that they want to pick up their stuff from their place of residence and they want to collect all their documents, although they can also be sent to them by e-mail.”

What about the students who had to interrupt their studies due to the coronavirus outbreak? Will they be allowed to postpone their studies or complete them in the next academic year?

“That depends very much on their situation. Most of the students decided to quit or continue their education online.

Illustrative photo: StartupStockPhotos/Pixabay, CC0

“We adapted to online education really fast, so the students were sitting either here in our student dormitories or back at home and they were following our courses virtually.

“One of the options that we offer now is that the students can prolong the examination period. So instead of the end of June, it now ends at the end of July.

“So this is one possibility, that the students who followed our courses in the virtual mode can now return to the University for exams, either in person or online.

 “If someone has not managed to finish their research or laboratory practices, they can definitely return during the winter semester of 2020/2021.”

So how will the Erasmus programme work in the next academic year? Will there be any special requirements for the admission of foreign students to Charles University?

“At the moment, we are very open. We hope to be able to offer face to face teaching. Hopefully, the situation is not going to worsen. But there are definitely countries which are still not considered safe.

“So the students coming from these countries will have to fulfil certain conditions, such as having Covid-19 testing or spending some time in quarantine.

“So we will definitely set aside some rooms in our student dorms for possible quarantines and we will follow the advice of the Ministry of Health and also the Ministry of Education.”