Winter Semester 2020/21: Covid-19 and ERASMUS

On 15 June 2020 Germany’s Federal Foreign Office lifted the travel warning for Europe in favour of country-specific travel advice. This goes hand in hand with an extensive reopening of intra-European borders. However, neither in Germany nor in the ERASMUS programme countries are all universities returning to normal operation. Many of our European partner universities decided to offer a mix of face-to-face classroom and online courses in the winter semester 2020/21 - if the Corona pandemic allows it.


Physical and/or Virtual Mobility

In view of this development, it is now possible for the first time within the ERASMUS programme that study or internship stays abroad can be started and supported as virtual or "blended mobility" learning experiences. However, the financial support for your mobility with the ERASMUS Mobility Grant only starts with your departure to the host country, whether for face-to-face or online study. This means that you will not receive any financial support for the time attending courses at the foreign host university online from Germany/your home country, as no additional costs are incurred.

If possible, a period of virtual mobility at the host institution abroad should be followed by physical mobility abroad for the ERASMUS programme’s minimum duration of 90 days. However, if restrictions due to the Corona pandemic continue to exist, the physical mobility period may be shortened or cancelled at all and replaced by an extension of the virtual mobility period. Interruption periods between the virtual and physical mobility phases are permitted as well.


Postponement to the summer semester 2021

Since virtual mobility cannot be compared with "real" (physical) mobility and thus does not actually correspond to the objectives of the ERASMUS programme, it would certainly make sense in many cases to postpone your stay abroad to the summer semester 2021. From our side this is possible without any problems. We only need the confirmations of your ERASMUS departmental coordinator at RUB as well as that of the host university in order to process the postponement to the summer semester.
However, it will not be possible for every foreign partner university to easily postpone numerous mobilities to the summer semester 2021, as, for example, places in courses or housing are scarce.

Please inform us by 15 July 2020 at the latest if you wish to postpone your stay abroad to the summer semester 2021 (please send an e-mail to outgoing-services@rub.de). If we do not hear from you by 15 July 2020, we assume that you will start your stay abroad as planned at the host university at the beginning of the winter semester 2020/21. Please also inform us as soon as possible, if you will initially start your stay online from home.


ERASMUS in a Corona Risk Area

Some partner universities of the RUB are located in places that are currently officially designated by the Federal Foreign Office as Corona risk areas. In the case of Spain, the German Federal Foreign Office even issued a travel warning on 14 August 2020, discouraging unnecessary tourist trips to Spain, with the exception of the Canary Islands, due to high infection rates.

We would therefore advise you to consider very carefully whether you wish to continue your stay abroad as planned. Please check the Federal Foreign Offices website regularly, in order to be up to date with the current situation in the host country before the start of your stay abroad. In the event that you actually depart, we would like to ask you to register in the Elefand list of the Federal Foreign Office (unfortunately this is only possible for German citizens): The Elefand List Should you need consular assistance and support from German missions abroad in an emergency during your stay abroad, the respective consulate/embassy can quickly contact you and, if necessary, relatives in Germany.

Please also bear in mind that - should your whereabouts still be a risk area on the day of your return to Germany or should a travel warning from the Federal Foreign Office be in place - you must probably undergo a Corona test on your return. Since 8 August 2020 and as of today, the tests are mandatory for people entering Germany from Corona risk areas. You can follow the development of the regulations on tests and any quarantine requirements here.
Finally, in the event of the departure to the host country, we would ask you to keep all travel documents until the end of the mobility period. If you have to interrupt your stay at short notice and have to return to Germany and it may be difficult to obtain a Confirmation of Stay/Transcript of Records from the host university, you can prove to us with the travel documents that you were actually abroad.

19 August 2020