If the French borders are gradually reopened, the mobility of studies for the next academic year is still quite uncertain. Most higher education institutions recommend that their students give priority to European mobility, or rather postpone it until the second semester.
Almost 90,000 students leave each year for a course abroad. A number that could drop significantly due to the current health crisis. If establishments do not prohibit their students from going abroad, they still prefer to warn them about the risks involved. If you are worried, be aware that mobility outside the Schengen area is strongly discouraged, at least in the first half of the year.
Mobility in Europe only until January 2021
Whether on the side of universities, engineering schools or business, the instruction remains the same: Mobility in the Schengen area is possible from next September. On the other hand, international mobility is studied on a case-by-case basis. “Above all, we recommend following government guidelinesbut at the moment, all borders outside the Schengen area are not open”, specifies Jocelyne Brendlé, president of the International and Development Commission of the CDEFI (conference of directors of French engineering schools).
Universities therefore prefer to suspend all mobility outside Europe in the first semester, with some exceptions, such as Canada, where the situation is stable. On the side of business schools, the same decision: “In some countries we have very little visibility in terms of both security and crisis communication, as in Brazil or in the United States, estimates M’Hamed Drissi, president of the International Relations Committee of the CGE (conferences of the Grandes Écoles). The majority of Grandes Ecoles therefore advise their students to postpone this mobility until the second semester.“
Anticipate possible last-minute contingencies
Whatever the destination, establishments are very cautious. If you decide to leave, you will not be immune from further confinement and therefore an early return to France. Hybrid mobility could then be the solution. “If a student cannot postpone their mobility, it is better to opt for virtual mobility before going to the country”, recommends M’Hamed Drissi.
If you decide to leave, the watchword will be “flexibility”. As the CDEFI manager explains, Sanitary conditions may change during the summer even though the pandemic appears to be partially under control in Europe. “Many foreign establishments still do not know if they will be able to receive our students and, therefore, favor remote mobility. Transport should also be taken into account: there are still few long-haul flights and they can be very expensive.“Going to Europe can therefore be more reassuring in case of emergency repatriation.
Defer your mobility without penalty
Some students must complete semesters abroad to earn their degree. But due to the pandemic, this rule no longer applies. So don’t worry, whether you cancel or postpone your mobility, the establishments guarantee it: no student will be penalized if the stay abroad is not possible. This is equally valid in the context of study mobility and internship. “Students who had to carry out their graduation project abroad are more concerned than others. Some want to experience this mobility, but you also have to be careful“, judges the CGE manager.