By Paddy Henry
The University has begun discussions around the feasibility of running the study abroad programmes ahead of the 2021/2022 academic year, SIN understands.
Almost a year since NUI Galway students studying across Europe were hauled home as Covid-19 began to take a firm hold on the continent a return to normal study broad programmes still looks far fetched in the short term.
Some NUIG-partnered colleges have already stated that they will not be taking exchanging students in the Autumn, leaving many students with a limited choice of destinations for their year abroad.
Eimear Boyle, a second year Commerce with Accounting student had been offered a place at the University of Maryland earlier this month, which was subsequently cancelled following an announcement that the University were no longer accepting exchange students,
Boyle now hopes to complete the Global Year part of her course in Liege but called for greater clarity from the University on what plans are in place for the study abroad programme next year,
“They are saying and acting as if everything will go ahead despite the pandemic but i feel like everything so far has been quite general and vague.” she told SIN.
“In previous years they would have been further along in the process. I know it is all very uncertain, but it would be great if the college could make a definitive decision on whether we can go or not in September, and clarify the conditions surrounding it in the case that we can, sooner rather than later. “she continued.
In a statement to SIN, International Exchange Coordinator at the international Affairs Office Jodi Blumenfeld said, that the University were working on contingency plans in the event that international travel restrictions are still in place come the start of the next academic year,
“Management has begun discussions around the feasibility of students engaging in a study abroad experience for next semester and are examining contingencies in the event that public health guidelines restrict international travel.” she commented.
Earlier this month, Taoiseach Micheál Martin conceded that international travel is not on the cards in the long term and conceded that international travel may nit be safe until 2022.
Students’ Union Education Officer Emma Sweeney said that students were being “left in the dark” over plans for the 2021/2022 academic year and said that t was “imperative” that a decision be made soon,
“The university have begun to discuss the possibility of Eramus and Study abroad happening for the next academic year. From our perspective it would be imperative that this decision is made sooner rather than later. Students have been left in the dark about so many decision this year which has had an extremely adverse affect on their mental health and finances that this cannot be another one.
“Erasmus is an integral part of the course and allowing students to develop. Those students who were forced to postpone and those students who chose their course for this reason should not be left disappointed again.
“We will be putting pressure on the university to make a decision swiftly and in favour of mobility.”, she finished.