Research overseas: what to anticipate for the beginning of the 2021 faculty yr?

Despite the health crisis, international mobility should continue to happen from the beginning of the next school year. If Europe still seems to be the safest solution, other possibilities seem possible. Recap’.

What international mobility will be possible next year? In higher education establishments, the time is still for the greatest prudence in this area, but also for the principle of hope. 🇧🇷It won’t be like before Covid, but it will be better than this year“, projects Omar Elmazria, director of international relations at the Polytech Nancy school of engineering. “We are all waiting, there are still many uncertainties. What will be decisive is the evolution of the pandemic and vaccination“, also emphasizes Jocelyne Brendlé, president of the international and development commission of the Conference of Directors of Engineering Schools (CDEFI). cases.

Because, in general, institutions have the desire to keep the exchanges as long as possible🇧🇷 For example, Lyon 2 University chose “to do not block any mobility🇧🇷 If there is an obstacle, it is up to the host universities or governments to decide. It’s not up to us to give health instructions,” explains James Walker, vice president in charge of international relations. For its part, the Audencia business school in Nantes has established the following principle: “Whenever possible, even if it is complex, we support students“, explains the director of programs, Nicolas Arnaud. Especially because, as in many business schools, but also engineering schools or even Sciences po Paris, mobility is mandatory in the course.

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International mobility, yes, but with caution

The establishments comply with the recommendations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the specific health restrictions of each country, the decisions of local partners, etc. Management on a case-by-case basis, subject to last minute changes.

The world map of possible destinations therefore appears to be floating. It may also vary from one institution to another, depending on the policy followed and the strength of the link with the foreign partner. : it is better to consult each department responsible for international relations. For example, Polytech Nancy advises against Brazil and Argentina, but also Asia, moving towards Europe and Canada. In the United States, doors are starting to open, thanks to mass vaccination: some universities have announced that they will open in person and receive foreign students, but others have made the opposite choice. “For North America, we recommend the greatest caution”, indicates Emmanuelle Garnier, president of the Commission on International and European Relations (CORIE) of the Conference of University Rectors (CPU), who invites in all cases to “consider alternative plans”🇧🇷

Almost everyone agrees that departures to India and Brazilor even all of South America, are currently very difficult to plan due to the health chaos. In Asia, the situation is mixed: in addition to India and China, which have not reopened their borders, South Korea is able to receive students. Some countries are also waiting “to see the evolution of the situation in France” to organize themselves, informs Jocelyne Brendlé.

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Europe, safety net

On his side, Europe thus emerges as a safer option, where mobility has more possibilities to materialize. “European universities kept their exchange programs open much more than those in North America or Asia”, underlines Vanessa Scherrer, from Sciences po Paris, which increased the number of vacancies for the Old Continent. 🇧🇷We really promote that local mobility, we play it safe“, also indicates Jocelyne Brendlé.

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Distancing not recommended

In the face of the pitfalls, hybrid or remote mobility also seems to be more obvious. Those who tried it this year, from abroad or even from France, “find value”, says Nicolas Arnaud, from Audencia: “They also have experience, with different teaching methods, of group work with other nationalities.” Classes all in English also allow you to progress. The school has even developed a distance course offer, as an alternative solution and for those who do not want to leave🇧🇷 Others think of developing “internationalization at home”, as a complement or preparation for a real exchange.

But generally speaking, the establishments contacted I do not recommend the distance formula abroad🇧🇷 “If we don’t have guarantees that something will happen in the place (courses, cultural activities, etc.), I think we will block some mobility that is too degraded, says James Walker, from Lyon 2. It’s no use going to the other side of the world to find yourself locked in your dorm.🇧🇷

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