Erasmus during the Corona Times
Exchange programme continues in the academic year 2020/2021 as well. Mobilities during the Fall semester have already started, and most students are already abroad at prestigious partner universities.
There are preventive measures across the world and at many partner universities the teaching is being delivered at least partially online. Many students had to start their exchange by obligatory self-quarantine. However, that does not mean that the exchange is not beneficial or that students are not able to enjoy it. On the contrary! We are happy to receive mostly positive news from abroad and we hope it stays that way. You can read through the positive feedback from the exchange abroad during the pandemic below.
Barbora Nováková (FFA), University of Turku
“Teaching is being delivered online but we can visit university facilities to study at the library or common areas. Exams take place in the university buildings. Teamwork is a very important part of the lessons, so we meet with other students and we are not separated.
The situation is all right in Finland. Finns are very cautious and responsible concerning coronavirus. Therefore, even though there is a low increase in the Covid cases in comparison with the Czech Republic, wearing masks is recommended in the public transport and at places with higher concentration of people.
However, we do not experience significant restrictions and we even (mostly) have a really nice weather!”
Egor Nefedov (FBA), Technological University Dublin
“I have been in Dublin for more than a month now and every day I realize that I’ve never felt so happy as I feel here. The thing I enjoy the most is the community of students from around the world that I got into, constantly meeting new people with very interesting and diverse opinions on everything, I’m surprised by how different cultures are. I’m very glad that I have decided to go on exchange despite the restrictions and I’m very grateful for such an amazing opportunity.
Regarding the school itself, everything is okay here. I’m not completely satisfied with their organizational skills and how long all the administrative procedures take. But the subjects are great and the thing I like the most is that almost all teachers are people with professional experience and lecturing is mostly a hobby for them. I think this exchange is very beneficial for me.
Of course, we are being affected by the restrictions associated with Covid to a considerable extent. We are not allowed to leave Dublin, restaurants and pubs are closed and we are not allowed to celebrate at home. Yet, it is so great here and we have many opportunities to travel in the surroundings of Dublin which is something we do very actively.”
Veronika Voldřichová (FIR), Universidad País Vasco
“During the first week, the school gave us a possibility to try various subjects, it was a bit hectic, no one really knew where and when we were supposed to be, but we finally managed it. The next week we are registering. In the end, many subjects are taught on-site, so hopefully the situation won’t worsen rapidly. For now, I must say that despite Covid and various measures our exchange wasn’t affected and hopefully it stays that way. 😊 …
This week the teaching at UPV goes well, we have been registered in the system so we can finally see all the changes and it’s not hectic 😊. I must say that adapting yourself to the Spanish vibe is not hard at all, I like it here very much! Primarily, the weather favours us very much for now, hopefully the rainy days come as late as possible.”
“ESN cancelled events for 14 days because most of us were self-quarantining. The teachers were luckily forthcoming, so they implemented bimodal instructions for the subjects that were only on-site. From the next week, the instructions should take place normally again. 😊 Otherwise, everything goes well, only the weather is starting to be cold and damp, so hopefully we’ll still see a couple of sunny days.
Otherwise, everything goes still well, time flies very fast, only gatherings are more limited now, up to 6 people instead of 10, which will probably affect bars & restaurants. However, local ESN always comes up with something and tries very hard to deal with the situation and that‘s very nice…
Despite the unusual situation, the experience is really worth it! Maybe the motto: „Exchange your life“ is even more appliable now, because one has a feeling (especially after a half year spent at home), that something finally moves on and you can explore new things again.”
Jaroslav Lubas (FIS), Umeå University
“I was worried about the Covid situation in the beginning. However, after the affairs in the Czech Republic, I have to say I was very lucky to leave and I am very happy here. Everyone observes the rules – there are no rules imposed by the government, only recommendations. Besides the distancing and sanitizer everywhere, there are no big restrictions.
Lectures are influenced only a little, access to the university facilities is 24/7 and it is not limited. We have online lectures in one of the courses, but we can go to the school to consult anything or to the computer classrooms anytime. Teaching system is different, I have 2 courses for a half of semester and it really suits me. I do not need to concentrate on many things at the same time and the workload is better distributed in the whole semester. The teachers want to pass on students as much knowledge as possible, they send out articles, presentations, everything we could possibly need. The quality of the teachers’ materials and students’ outcomes are on a different level here. The goal is not to make someone fail the exam, but to make the best results and explain and defend your own approach even if the result is not correct.
Buddy program is slightly adapted to the Covid situation. We are split to the groups of 25 people and we have many actions together like parties, common studying, trekking in the mountains, or rafting. The nature here is beautiful, everyone takes care of it a lot. There are many places for camping and setting a fire, and it is so clean everywhere. I have visited many cities and several UNESCO heritage sites and 5 national parks and many nature reservations on my way here. Swedes love nature, you can go anywhere, and you always find a place to bed down.
I have a great group of friends from the whole Europe and together we go to the mountains and hunt the aurora. Hunters call it the “Dancing lady”. If you are lucky it is an unforgettable show.“
Karolína Kapounová (FoEcon), Seoul National University
“Before I left to Korea I was very doubtful, especially because of the obligatory quarantine. Moreover, I had known we would have online classes from the beginning and also the ice-breaking events were cancelled due to the coronavirus. However, I do not regret the decision to go at all and the quarantine was absolutely worth it. Despite the online classes, the situation concerning coronavirus is one of the best in the world and the measures are being lifted, therefore, we can organize trips and events with other students. I went for a trip outside Seoul also on my own and I surely want to continue in that. 🙂 Korean culture is so different from ours and I am very happy I have the experience thanks to the exchange programme. Anyway, I have to admit, I look forward to going back to Czechia a little. 🙂 “
Jakub Zíka (FM), University of Porto
“Regarding the school, everything is alright. The classes are in-person, I am happy for that and hope it lasts.
However, the Erasmus is influenced by Covid, for example the trips by student organizations are being cancelled or bigger events are not organized at all (meetings of more than 10 people are not possible in Porto). I am very glad I went abroad, though. As I have already been on Erasmus before, I can really benefit as much as possible despite the Covid situation and fully enjoy the Erasmus. …
The only issue I had to solve so far, was a fraud with accommodation that I found from the Czech Republic. When I arrived at the address, the contact person stop communicating with me and it came to light later that it was a fraud. …
The fraud wasn’t pleasant, and it surely was a complication, but at least I gained some valuable experience for the future. I always try seeing things in the better light, so I wouldn’t let it ruin my stay here. The Covid situation is not getting any better. However, it has only influenced the social activities and one of the three courses switched to online teaching. Any other measures have not been announced. ”
“New measures were announced quite often lately, but to be honest it looks worse “on paper” than it really is. It seems the attitude of the people here is different than in the Czech Republic – people try to be responsible and careful towards each other. By that I mean people automatically sanitize their hands (the sanitizer is everywhere) when entering a building (shops, fitness centrum, school), the cashiers are disinfected after max. 3 customers, tables and chairs in restaurants after every customer and so on. On the other hand, they try to live normally. There is a curfew (with exceptions of work, school, necessary issues) from 23:00 to 5:00 during the weekdays and from 13:00 to 5:00 during the weekends and it is recommended to stay home otherwise. However, the restaurants, sport facilities, bars, coffee shops and schools are open (the teaching is still partially in-person) and when moving in the city you wouldn’t say it is recommended to stay home, so it shows they want people to live normally within the bounds of possibility. Even though it may look like a displeasing partial lockdown, the reality is more pleasant. 🙂
I handle the situation very well and I fully enjoy it. I have many friends who I see regularly and when possible we make trips across the Portugal. I do not meet that many people as I would without the pandemic, but the relationships are closer and more intensive as you see the same people more regularly.”
Alexandra Krejčí (FIR), Corvinus University of Budapest
“I’m writing to you from the sunny Budapest. Everything went well and I’m waiting for the Orientation Day on Thursday at the moment. I haven’t been to the school yet and honestly, I don’t know when I’ll be able to go there. So far, everything seems to take place online.”
“Everything goes well and I’m well. I still have instructions partially online, two subjects face-to-face and two subjects online. There are activities and events, however I don’t participate in all of them. One can see that Corvinus and ESN Corvinus are trying to arrange that Erasmus students experience a fully-fledged exchange.”
Richard Hajdúk (FFA), HHL Leipzig
“At the moment, the orientation week and matriculations are taking place. It is great here so far, we’ve had a guided tour of the school, the campus, and the city too. A teambuilding awaits us afterwards and in two weeks, the semester should start partially online (online/on-site).”
“Currently, everything is okay, the Covid-19 situation is getting worse in Germany, but Leipzig is okay so far. The school has also started introducing more strict restrictions regarding the entry on campus. …
The semester has already started, we have almost all subjects with full-time students. If there is a teamwork, they are trying to split us in a way that we always collaborate with different people.”
Pavla Bořková (FIR), University of Ljubljana
“The situation in Ljubljana (respectively in whole Slovenia) is not very good, at least regarding the preventive measures and restrictions. The situation changed very suddenly, and some measures are stricter than yours (in Czechia). It is almost impossible to leave Ljubljana, and that makes it impossible to go for a trip, the restaurants and bars are closed, there is a curfew after 9pm and meeting others is very limited. These and also other measures complicate all kinds of socialization. However, we still try to stay in a good mood as far as possible. Many exchange students decided to go back home, I have decided to stay here so far. Going home would be like jumping out of the frying pan into the fire, at least for now.”
Iveta Hušková (FIR), Technische Universität München
“Teaching is being delivered online at TUM. The synchronous lectures are via ZOOM and the asynchronous are via Moodle. There are often invited experts with professional experience. I also have English and German courses via Zoom. It is interactive and the quality of teaching is very good. The TUM library is open and schools and stores as well. Concerning some measures, we can only meet people from our household now. …
Before the measures were adopted, I had a chance to meet with Exchange students and few local people from Munich thanks to the Buddy program and we were travelling and discovering Munich and its surroundings together. We made the first trip to the Herzogstand mountain (1831 m), where there was a beautiful view of the mountains and the lakes Walchensee and Kochelsee. We made a hike to the Kochel mountain (1342 m) and had a view of Oberaammergau and tried the Alpine Coaster Rodelbahn. We were also in the Hofgarten garden by Munich and visited the Olympic park and the Starnberg lake.”
Jan Zvoníček (FIR), Université Nice Sophia Antipolis
“… We (Erasmus students) have classes at school. Normally, the class is divided into thirds, 2/3 are at school and 1/3 has online lesson. It always takes some time to make it work and then it lags a lot, so I think that VSE is handling the online situation better… However, we’re always present in the classroom, because it would be an additional problem to connect us and explain to us, how it works, etc. (Although they told us today that we will have some of the courses online – using Zoom). The school is a bit chaotic…
Other than that, I’m very glad for the opportunity to travel, get to know the culture, language and everything!”
“I certainly do not regret my decision to take part in Erasmus in France during the coronavirus situation. I do not feel majorly restricted and, in my opinion, the situation is similar throughout Europe. In the two months I’ve been here, I’ve managed to travel the whole of southern France, from Nîmes to Italy. I am very satisfied with the place of my stay. Nice is really a very beautiful and diverse place surrounded by sea and mountains with pleasant weather. I made a lot of friends here, so I can improve my knowledge of the foreign language. I have most of my courses in French and I am in a class with native French people, so I am surrounded only by French.”
Jan Přerovský (FIS), Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW)
“Everything is fine in Switzerland. The school is online and will be until the end of the semester, but the form of exams is still being solved – it is the same as at VŠE. We meet others mainly on the weekends or at sporting events during the week. The situation regarding Covid here in Winterthur is not so terrible yet, so restaurants are open, etc. ESN is still organizing events, so we also participate in those.”
Jan also made a beautiful video which is absolutely worth watching!
Jana Rohlíková (FFA), Johannes Kepler Universität Linz
“The previous weeks have been absolutely great. So many new experiences, meeting amazing people, the opportunity to physically visit the beautiful campus of JKU, all this cannot even be expressed in words. I’d say we couldn’t have enjoyed these almost two months better. Although this Erasmus is not exactly the same as it has been in previous years, I am extremely satisfied. …
As of today, new measures have come into force in Austria, which, among other things, introduce online teaching for all universities. I was deciding whether to stay in college or return to the Czech republic. However, after talking to a colleague, I decided to stay here and I am hoping that we will have online courses only during November and that in December, everything will return, at least partially, to the old ways.”
Karolína Martínková (FFA), Johannes Kepler Universität Linz
“I have enjoyed the past month and a half to the fullest, the teaching took place in a combined form. There was a limited number of people in class, but because the local students were mostly not interested in full-time teaching, I was able to attend all subjects. However, the last three days have brought big changes and a lot of nerves associated with lockdown and the closure of universities.
I hope that despite these changes we will enjoy the rest of the semester and will be able to see each other at least outside. I still believe that lockdown will end at the end of November. I wish you good health and I firmly believe that the situation in the Czech republic is finally starting to turn for the better.”
Hana Fikrová (FIR), Sogang University
Marta Slaninková (FIR), Universidad de Navarra
“I made it safely to Pamplona, the mobility has been going smoothly, the school puts a lot of emphasis on hygiene measures and we are all very well informed about the situation.”
“The situation is not particularly good in Spain, and I guess Navarra is perhaps the most affected area by Covid after Madrid and Barcelona … Nevertheless, I can’t say that this fact is fundamentally affecting my stay. The university still has full-time teaching at school – it is accompanied by all measures, such as the constant wearing of mask and keeping a distance. The conditions for meeting in public places have been restricted, but given that the measures were set in a similar way before, this was not essential. I can say that, at least as far as I’m concerned, everything is fine and fortunately I haven’t encountered any problems yet. …
The region is currently in a 14-day ” lockdown “, in which we are not allowed to travel outside the region and no one is allowed inside. Furthermore, all restaurants, cafes and similar establishments are closed and there’s a curfew. However, the school continues to operate in person.”
Tereza Kalousová (FoEcon), Wrocław University of Economics (online from home)
“I have to say that I’m very happy with how online teaching works in Poland, so far I have not encountered any problems. Professors are very accommodating and try to make this form of teaching as interesting as possible. I think that this form even suits me better in certain things, for example, I have classes until 18:15 on Friday (it’s three lessons in a row) and I’m very grateful that I don’t have to run to school and be there until it’s dark, but that I can be in the comfort of my own home and have coffee. 🙂 I am sorry that I wasn’t able to visit Poland and did not have the opportunity to get to know their country, culture, locals and other students from the Erasmus program, but in retrospect I evaluate this decision positively, because the Covid situation in Poland is definitely not ideal. The main reason for joining Erasmus was the opportunity to improve my level of English and this goal is being fulfilled, and although I am not physically present in Poland, I have had the opportunity to meet some very interesting people during my online classes.”
Tereza has a picture form her Erasmus as well. 🙂
Richard Bernát (FBA), Konkuk University
“One does not get bored in Korea, I am busy not only with school but also with exploring new places and meeting new people.
The situation about COVID-19 is quite good, much better than in Europe. There are some measures like social distancing and wearing face masks, but we are already used to those and we are not much limited by that.
Teaching is being delivered online and will be so till the end of the semester. It is obvious they were well prepared as it went so smoothly. There is a single platform – the eCampus, where we can find all our courses, online lectures, assignments, attendance, syllabus – just everything we need to know.
Korean culture and cuisine are awesome, and people are very nice and helpful (even when they do not speak English).
Regarding exchange students, there are fewer of them than usually, but despite the corona and the measures, we managed to get to know each other and organize some trips.”
Andrea Melissa Mejía Rodezno (FIR), Lappeenranta – Lahti University of Technology
“Everything is going really well for me. Our courses went completely online so I moved to Helsinki for a job opportunity linked to my thesis writing.”