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COVID-19 – Student exchange plans are thwarted

The Swiss government decree of 13 March 2020 prohibited all attendance at universities and re-introduced border controls. Swiss nationals abroad had to return home, hence The FHNW School of Life Sciences (HLS) decided that all planned stays abroad starting before July must be cancelled.

This is bad news for students who had prepared for and were looking forward to their stay abroad, or who were already away. HLS students had set up degree projects in Mexico, England, Scotland, the USA, Sweden and the Netherlands - everything had to be cancelled and two HLS students returned early from their stays in India and China.

Students from Sweden and the Czech Republic have had to cancel or postpone their planned stay at the HLS in Muttenz. There there were 14 Exchange Students here, in a foreign country in a state of emergency, dealing with a foreign language, their families far away. There was obviously great uncertainty and concern, making direct contact between the students and their supervisors, the International Office and the home university all the more important. Thanks to excellent contacts with our partner universities abroad and the personal commitment of our advisors, the visiting students are well looked after. The majority have been able to continue their projects by working from home; only a few students decided to return to their own countries.

How travel regulations and thus the student exchanges will develop in the coming months is still unsure. Several HLS students are preparing for a stay abroad in the autumn and numerous incoming students have been nominated by our partner universities and are just waiting for confirmation. In close cooperation with the institutions concerned, we are doing everything we can to give these students the valuable experience of a stay abroad.

FHNW School of Life Sciences

FHNW University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland School of Life Sciences Hofackerstrasse 30 CH - 4132 Muttenz
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