Reason no. 1: This does not have to be your only chance to study abroad with Erasmus+!
In each phase of your studies (BA, MA, or PhD), you can spend up to twelve months abroad with Erasmus+ - i.e. up to 3 semesters!
If your upcoming Erasmus semester takes place in a purely virtual format, there is no need for you to postpone or cancel it. You may have another opportunity to study abroad again at a later time.
Please also consider that lots of postponements on short notice at your host institution may lead to capacity shortages in the semesters to come.
Reason no. 2: New formats, new possibilities
Depending on the host institution, your semester abroad may take place with on-site attendance, as a “blended mobility” with physical and digital components, or as a purely digital offer. Why not take advantage of this opportunity, the same way you do at the University of Potsdam?
Studying abroad with digital components or in purely digital formats also offers you a lot of flexibility when it comes to integrating your studies into your everyday life – it may facilitate a combination of your semester abroad with your studies in Potsdam or make life easier for you if you are a parent.
It doesn’t matter if it is an on-site or digital semester: In any case, you will encounter new learning and teaching methods, a new higher education system and curriculum as well as new fellow students and instructors.
Reason no. 3: Special competencies and professional perspectives
An Erasmus semester during COVID showcases your flexibility, readiness to change, and open-mindedness.
In addition, you will improve your digital, language, and organizational skills – all key criteria for many employers when selecting new employees.
When working virtually with your fellow students and instructors, your communication skills and ability to collaborate will be further developed in a completely new, intercultural way.
Tips for your stay abroad with Erasmus+ despite COVID
Tip no. 1: Long-term planning, short-term reactions
Nobody knows for sure how the pandemic situation will evolve over the coming months, but one thing is certain: the deadlines you will have to meet to plan your Erasmus trip. Whether you want to go abroad in the winter semester 2021/22 or in the summer semester 2022, the application deadlineisJanuary 31, 2021!
Therefore, make sure to plan your stay abroad well in advance, submit your application to the respective academic department, and have all the necessary documents ready.
If changes have to be made regarding your planned trip due to the continuing pandemic situation, you will be able to react at short notice – with our support, of course.
Tip no. 2: Showcase your open-mindedness and flexibility
Whether it is your course selection, the duration of your stay, or the arrangements for your leisure activities – more flexibility and openness is required under these special circumstances than for ordinary semesters abroad.
This is a challenge for everyone involved – but in any case, an opportunity!
Tip no. 3: Get in touch with other students
Other students before you have already had experiences with a semester abroad during COVID or are planning a study abroad trip at the same time as you.
Take advantage of the experiences and tips shared by former Erasmus students by reading our Stories of Exchange or watching the presentations held at the country-specific booths during our International Week.
You can also check with the International Office to see if students from past or upcoming semesters have shared their email addresses.
Common concerns around Erasmus+ during COVID
Concern no. 1: Is an Erasmus trip even possible?
Yes! Just as is the case at the University of Potsdam, courses continue to take place at the partner universities. These are either held face-to-face, as a “blended mobility” with physical and digital components, or in a purely digital format. Please also read “Reasons for an Erasmus semester despite COVID”.
However, some host universities do not allow student exchanges. If necessary, please ask your subject-specific exchange coordinator at the UP or the International Office of the UP.
Studying abroad is not considered to be a tourist trip, so there are no bans. Nevertheless, there are some aspects to consider. Please read Concern no. 2 and 3. As a rule, your health and safety should always be your first priority!
Concern no. 2: What are the risks?
Last-minute changes: university cancellation, entry restrictions, quarantine, lockdown during the semester, etc.
Limited amount of face-to-face instruction: capacities for spots in courses are limited, flexibility in course selection required
Reduced contact with other students
Fewer opportunities for recreational activities: bars, concerts, trips, campus life, etc.
Returning may be difficult: no emergency return programs, fewer flights
Concern no. 3: What you need to consider in terms of organization
Application for the study abroad program and at the partner university
Researching the conditions on site (health care system, health measures and regulations)
Courses offered (in general)
Am I allowed to enter the country?
What are the quarantine regulations?
Hygiene rules (distance, masks, navigating in crowds)
That also means: If it is not possible to enter the host country at short notice, you can participate in the semester by attending virtually and, if necessary, make up for what you missed at the beginning of your physical stay.
Concern no. 4: Recognition of credits gained abroad and language acquisition
Whether it’s face-to-face, a mixture of on-site and digital formats, or entirely virtual, you’ll receive credentials for your time abroad with Erasmus+ no matter what.
Even in the case of a virtual semester, you will benefit from the range of available courses and e-learning offers as well as the reputation of your host university.
Even during a purely virtual semester abroad, the free language courses and the EU Commission’s language learning platform OLS (Online Linguistic Support) are available to you from the very beginning.
Concern no. 5: Funding for (non-)physical stays
Financial support for stays abroad with Erasmus+ is subject to certain guidelines.
Your stay abroad will be eligible for financial support as soon as you are at the host university for the purpose of studying (for virtual or face-to-face learning formats).
Should your physical stay be shorter than expected due to COVID (later arrival and/or earlier departure) and fall below the usual minimum duration requirement of three months, your physical stay will still be funded down to the exact day.
This means that if you spend your semester abroad working from home in a virtual setting, you will not receive any financial support. Nevertheless, you will enjoy the other benefits of an Erasmus semester: no tuition fees at the host university, courses offered by the host university, language courses, support from the International Office of the host university and the University of Potsdam, etc.