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The Covid-19 pandemic and outbound exchange in the autumn semester 2021

Important information for those of you who are going on an exchange this autumn.

Publisert: Endret:

Korona, informasjon, utveksling

The deadline for applying for an exchange in the autumn semester 2021 was 1 February.

During the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, it is at all times the emergency management at the University of Stavanger who decides to what extent we will carry out international student exchanges.

Current situation:

  • The emergency management at UiS is closely following the development of the Covid-19 pandemic. UiS views exchanges in the Nordic countries and Europe as most likely.
  • Australia has introduced entry refusal for foreign nationals.
  • US authorities announced on 11 March that the United States will introduce entry restrictions that apply to travelers from Norway, among other places.
  • Norwegian health authorities have decided to give students in Norway going on exchange priority when it comes to vaccination. Please contact Stavanger municipality if you are planning to go on exchange this year.
COVID-19 pandemic and exchange in autumn 2021

As adviced before the deadline for applying for student exchange on 1 February, the University of Stavanger (UiS) considered that student exchange in the Nordic countries and Europe were most likely for the autumn semester 2021. We also informed that the exchange could be cancelled during the process, either by the UiS or the host university, and as a consequence we recommended all our students to apply for exchange within Europe.   AUSTRALIA / NEW ZEALAND Unfortunately, we no longer see it as practically possible to carry out physical/in-person exchange in Australia / New Zealand. This is due to the fact that Australia / New Zealand currently have closed borders, and we have received an indication from our partners that the borders will not open in time for the start of the semester.   Although neither UiS nor all our partners in Australia / New Zealand have formally canceled the exchange, we consider it unlikely that student exchange to these countries can be carried out. In line with the descriptions of the consequences outlined below, we ask that you contact the International Office through the exchange guide in Digital Servicedesk and investigate the possibility of alternatives in Europe, or possibly withdraw your application.   OTHER COUNTRIES OUTSIDE EUROPE The situation is somewhat different for the other countries outside Europe, but we still consider it most likely with exchanges in the Nordics and Europe for the autumn semester 2021. For those of you who have applied to other countries outside Europe, we give you the opportunity to proceed with other priorities in your application now. The number of available study places in Europe is limited, and we want everyone who has applied outside Europe to now have the same opportunity to apply for these places. We therefore also ask you to contact the International Office through the exchange guide in Digital Servicedesk and investigate the possibility of alternatives in Europe, or possibly withdraw the application.   CONSEQUENCES We do not formally cancel exchanges outside Europe as of today. We nevertheless ask you to carefully consider whether you want to continue the application process to countries outside Europe.   If you have a European institution on the priority list on the application, we give you the opportunity to try to move on with next priorities now. We therefore ask that you contact the International Office through the exchange guide in Digital Servicedesk and investigate the possibility of alternatives in Europe, or possibly withdraw your application. This also applies if you do not have an alternative in Europe in the original application. Such inquiries are processed continuously on a first-come, first-served basis.   As we stated in advance of the application deadline, we will try to offer you to be nominated for the next alternative on the priority list if possible. If you want to continue the application process to countries outside Europe, you are free to do so, although we do not recommend this. In that case, we would like to emphasize that the University of Stavanger is not financially responsible for costs related to the application process such as visas, vaccines, application fees, tuition fees, etc. We also point out that we cannot guarantee that our students will be reimbursed tuition fees if for instance our partner university conducts digital teaching instead of traditional lectures with physical presence. Any financial losses as a result of continuing the application process to institutions outside Europe must therefore be covered by yourself.   INSURANCE The University of Stavanger requires that you make sure you have the necessary insurance for the exchange stay (travel and otherwise). It is therefore very important that you make sure you have valid insurance before you go for an exchange and familiarize yourself well with the terms of your insurance. The insurance companies have different terms and different coverage for students on exchange, also with regard to the Covid-19 pandemic. For example, ANSA does not offer (per 15.03.21) student insurance for study stays in countries such as Madagascar, India, Israel, Tanzania or Palestine. The UiS cannot cover financial losses that may be incurred and which are not covered by your insurance.   You must comply with advice from Norwegian and local authorities during the exchange period. It is important to be aware that our opportunities to help you may be very limited even for events unrelated to the covid-19 pandemic. We cannot guarantee that you will receive assistance if you, for example, need transport to Norway or your home country or treatment at a hospital or doctor. There is extra pressure on the health service and the transport sector worldwide, and we do not know how this will develop throughout the year. In addition, there is a risk of receiving limited consular assistance from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to return to Norway should the need arise.   COVID-19 VACCINE The UiS strongly advises against carrying out health professional practice exchanges without prior vaccination.  

In a letter dated 14 October, the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research informed about student mobility for Norwegian students during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The letter emphasizes the following, among other things:

  • The Norwegian government considers student exchange to be necessary travels. Thus, students who travel on exchange does not violate the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' travel advice, which states that we should avoid all unnecessary travel.
  • It is very important that the students make sure they have valid travel insurance before going on an exchange. The students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with the terms of their own travel insurance.
  • The students are responsible for examining which infection control measures apply in the country in which they are to reside. Studernts must be loyal to the infection control measures.

This letter has unfortunately not been translated into English, but you can find the Norwegian version here:

Information about student mobility for Norwegian students under COVID-19

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

It is important to be aware of the following when applying for an exchange this autumn:

If the Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not recommend travel to a specific geographical area, we will not be able to send students to this area either. The government characterizes student exchange as 'necessary travel'. We will therefore open up for student exchange to Europe, even though several of these countries are characterized as 'red countries'.

The management at UiS can cancel exchanges to a geographical area even if the Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not advise against traveling there. The university makes an overall assessment of the situation at all times, and must in advance of the application process try to create a predictable situation for our students. This may mean that the university cancels exchanges to areas that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not advise against traveling to.

When applying for an exchange, you can set up a priority list with up to five options. If you have been offered to apply to a partner institution that cancels exchange, or the emergency management at UiS decides that we can not send students to the area the institution is after the application deadline for exchange at UiS, we will try to offer you to apply for the next alternative on the priority list if possible.

For practical reasons, it is not possible to apply for other alternatives or re-prioritize the list after the application deadline.

The University of Stavanger requires that you make sure you have the necessary insurance for the exchange stay (travel and otherwise).

It is therefore very important that you make sure you have valid insurance before you go for an exchange and familiarize yourself well with the terms of your insurance. The insurance companies have different terms and different coverage for students on exchange, also with regard to the Covid-19 pandemic. For example, ANSA does not offer (per 15.03.21) student insurance for study stays in countries such as Madagascar, India, Israel, Tanzania or Palestine. The UiS cannot cover financial losses that may be incurred and which are not covered by your insurance.  

You must comply with advice from Norwegian and local authorities during the exchange period. It is important to be aware that our opportunities to help you may be very limited even for events unrelated to the covid-19 pandemic. We cannot guarantee that you will receive assistance if you, for example, need transport to Norway or your home country or treatment at a hospital or doctor. There is extra pressure on the health service and the transport sector worldwide, and we do not know how this will develop throughout the year. In addition, there is a risk of receiving limited consular assistance from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to return to Norway should the need arise.

Most of our partners in Europe and the Nordic countries participate in the Erasmus program. You do not pay to apply for admission to our partner institutions, there is no tuition fee, and you will receive a scholarship for the period you are on exchange. If the exchange is canceled prior to the exchange, there will therefore be no costs associated with such an application. If you have to cancel your stay, the cost of, for example, repatriation will not be as great as if you, for example, were to travel home from Australia or the United States.

As mentioned, the emergency management at UiS is following the development of the Covid-19 pandemic closely. Please note that your exchange may also be cancelled during the process, either by UiS or the host university.