For the beginning of the 2021 school year, international mobility is once again possible. If French students can go abroad, there are still several conditions to be met. And to complicate matters, know that health rules differ according to the host country.
It has been a few months since the rules were relaxed regarding international mobility. For the start of the school year, students can fly to the four corners of the world… or almost. After long months of waiting, Canada has just reopened its borders, the United States has also announced it for November, but countries like China, Japan and Australia remain closed.
“Theoretically, students still have the opportunity to study anywhere in the worldassures Christine Fernandez, president of the network of vice presidents of international relations (VPRI) of universities. In fact, we have always favored mobility in Europe and in green countries.“
Areas more or less at risk
In fact, countries are divided into red, orange or green zones depending on the circulation of the virus. In the countries of the red zones (mainly in Latin America, Russia, Near and Middle East), the circulation of the virus is particularly active and the presence of the “worrying” variants, says the government. The circulation of the virus also remains active in the countries of the orange zone (Africa, Asia, Latin America, the United States, etc.). Green zone countries are considered safer, as is the case with Canada, Europe and Australia in particular.
This zone classification can impact your mobility. In red countries, reception conditions are stricter: further quarantine or an additional PCR test may be requested, for example. “It’s more complicated to go to a country in the red zone, but long stays are still possible”, warns Christine Fernandez.
The health pass, essential for traveling
Whatever your destination, the health pass, or green pass, it becomes inevitable. Europe has standardized travel terms on whether the pass is valid or not. As a reminder, you must be vaccinated or have a negative PCR/antigen test.
But be careful, before leaving, check the conditions of entry into the territory. For example, in Ireland, “one dose of vaccine for people who have already been sick with Covid is not enough to meet the full vaccination criteria“, specifies France Diplomatie. Even in Ireland, antigen testing is not accepted. This is also the case in Canada.
More restrictions on foreign universities
If the borders were reopened, higher education establishments may also refuse to accept foreign students. According to the official, this could be the case in Canada, Russia and Asia. At the beginning of the school year, there were also problems with issuing visas, particularly for students who had to go to Canada. Since then, everything has returned to normal, but as Christine Fernandez, also vice president of international relations at the University of Poitiers, says, some students have been forced to cancel their departure.
On-site health instructions also differ from one country, region and facility to another. Wearing a mask, for example, is no longer mandatory in Belgian Flanders and the UK. On the other hand, the Swiss Grandes Ecoles and universities demand a health pass to follow the courses. Ditto in some establishments in the United States. “You have to ask your host establishment for the terms and conditions of the health pass,” advises Christine Fernandez. have a complete vaccination schedule before leaving.”
Also be careful to check that your vaccine is recognized in your host country. In Canada, a procedure allows you to have your European QR code recognized. A system that was also created in France for foreign students. In the UK, the European Union Health Pass is also accepted.
Most face-to-face feedback
And for those who manage to complete their mobility, good news, most classes resumed face-to-face. “Sometimes there are some distance courses, but it is more exceptional. All the students will sit on the university benches with the other students”, guarantees Christine Fernandez.
The president of the VPRI still hammers home: take out good insurance when booking your flights,”Last minute cancellations are always possible…“.