Student exchanges in time of Crisis- ESN Research Report

The Erasmus Student Network (ESN) has written a research report on the impact of COVID-19 on the mobility experience of students and trainees across Europe. It builds on a survey in which 22,000 international students and trainees in Europe provided information about their experiences.

The report aims to support policy-makers to make evidence-based decisions and alter communication in order to answer the major challenges students face during their exchange in foreign countries.

Key Findings for Malta include:

  • In Malta, 130 incoming students responded to the survey (85 Erasmus+/EU funded mobility & 45 other international exchanges mostly non-EU)
  • 50 Maltese outgoing students responded to the survey
  • There was a common trend among international students in Malta. The majority of international students who came to Malta on an exchange programme and have since returned home due to COVID-19 are able to continue to follow the courses of their Maltese host institution. Therefore, academically speaking, the majority of international students have not been affected. 
  • Maltese HEIs and the National Agency have taken early proactive measures to mitigate any long term academic problems
  • A handful of Maltese students returning to Malta have had to cancel their Erasmus experience as a direct result of COVID-19. In most cases, this was because their host institution cancelled their Erasmus or their host institution would not facilitate online lectures, contrary to the case of foreign international exchange students in Malta. In these cases, Maltese students have had to re-enrol with their original HEI. As a result, these students have complained of both financial stresses due to uncertainty with regards to the Erasmus grant, as well as academic stress as they must now make-up for missed lectures dating from February, even though, however, the University of Malta has stated that it will facilitate the reintegration of Maltese students re-enrolling with the University after a cancelled Erasmus exchange. 
  • The vast majority of international exchange students have also complained of financial stress due to the fact that many private landlords and purpose-built student accommodation providers (like the University Residence) have refused to refund students who have had to return to their home countries. This issue is compounded for those students who did not receive funding for their exchange, as well as for those students who have other financial obligations back home.

The Report can be downloaded by clicking the link below:

Student exchanges in times of crisis – ESN Research Report April 2020