Refocusing on Europe, “virtual” exchanges … in higher education, the international redesigned by the pandemic

“It’s a new academic year that is finally starting quite well. “ Like most international relations managers in higher education institutions, Christine Fernandez, Vice President of the University of Poitiers, does not shy away from the pleasure of seeing international trade return to new heights. ” almost “ normal at the beginning of the 2021 school year, when those had fallen “Up to 40%” last year for both outbound and inbound mobility. Almost 250 students from Poitiers have enrolled in a foreign university in recent days and almost as many internationals have left their suitcase in Poitiers. That is to say a decrease, compared to 2019, of “Only 10%” in both directions for exchanges with partner institutions, to which 750 students must be added free movers, welcomed in “free mobility”.

After a year and a half of health crisis spent partly behind the computer, “Students want mobility more than ever”, summarizes the vice-president, whose institution hosted the general assembly of the elected for international relations of the universities at the beginning of September. This optimism is confirmed by all the higher education institutions surveyed, as well as by Campus France data. The public body responsible for promoting French education to foreign students reported in mid-September that more than 110,000 student visa applications had been submitted to consulates for this new academic year. A level roughly equivalent to the situation in 2019, “Which suggests a cancellation of the effect of the Covid crisis”, according to the agency. At least in numbers.

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Adaptation and refocusing on Europe

It remains to organize these exchanges in a health context still far from being placated on a global level. “Our Covid crisis unit, launched at the height of the crisis, is still fully functional, confirms Hendrik Lohse, director of international affairs at EM Normandie business school. The health situation and the rules in force in the host or departure countries continue to evolve and require constant adaptation. “

Indeed, on the health card of the countries he knows by heart, orange and red still dominate. But from August also students from countries where the active circulation of the virus is considered worrying (Brazil, Argentina, Russia, etc.) can come to study in France by promoting “Valid reason” their enrollment in a higher education institution.

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Georgie Collins

"Falls down a lot. Writer. Passionate alcohol maven. Future teen idol. Hardcore music practitioner. Food fanatic. Devoted travel fan."