University College Dublin (UCD) has suspended all outbound Erasmus and non-EU college exchanges for the upcoming autumn trimester due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The college is now the second Irish university to suspend international exchanges for its students, after the University of Limerick (UL) did the same last month.
In an email to all UCD students who were due to go on an exchange abroad, Dr Douglas Proctor, the director of UCD Global, said: “The University has now taken the difficult decision that it will suspend Erasmus+ and Non-EU Exchange programmes for the Autumn Trimester 2020.”
“Having considered the varying public health advice in different host countries, the current travel restrictions nationally and internationally, and the uncertainty as to when such restrictions will be lifted, it is clear that it is not currently feasible for UCD students to plan their exchange activities adequately”, Proctor wrote.
“The risk of travel cancellation is high and a growing number of host institutions are indicating that they are no longer able to receive students in the Autumn Trimester.”
“UCD recognises the significant impact that this will have to your study plans for the coming year,” he continued. “Your UCD College/School/Programme will now work with you to develop an alternative study plan, which may include suitable future exchange options for your programme so that your academic progression can be safeguarded.”
UCD will contact all host universities to update the relevant faculties on this decision. This will affect autumn exchanges only. Spring 2021 semester exchanges are currently planned to proceed as normal.
An FAQ sheet attached to the email said that both full year and autumn outbound exchange can continue their studies at UCD. Deferrals to spring semester 2020/21 may not be possible in all cases as many universities will have already reached exchange student capacities.
Last month, UL suspended its Erasmus and Study Abroad programmes, scheduled to proceed next autumn, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The university made the decision in light of “current travel restrictions and with no indication when these will lift”, according to an email sent to students planning to travel abroad for their studies next year.
The email, signed by UL’s Critical Operations Team and Executive Committee and seen by The University Times, said: “After much consideration and with regret, we have decided at this stage – so as to allow for alternative planning for our students – that the Erasmus and Non EU Exchange mobility programmes will be suspended for the Autumn Semester and alternative programmes will be put in place for those UL students who had been scheduled to study abroad for their Autumn Semester.”
“We realise that this is very disappointing for students, but at present it is the only safe option”, the email said.
Trinity has yet to issue a formal decision on impending Erasmus and exchanges exchanges for Michaelmas term 2020.