The virus severely impacted the regular student life, both for international and local students, as many university campuses were closed down and lectures were postponed or moved online. It is clear that the COVID-19 virus has had a very disruptive effect on many aspects of our societies, in Europe and indeed the whole world.
In order to capture the experiences of students and trainees across Europe regarding the impact of COVID-19 on their mobility experience, the Erasmus Student Network (ESN) has written a research report on the topic, built on a survey in which 22,000 international students and trainees in Europe provided information about their experiences.
Based on that research, ESN Romania developed a National Report about the impact of COVID-19 on outgoing and incoming mobilities of our country. This report provides an overview of the first difficulties students in and from Romania faced during their mobility and regarding their mobility.
Here are some key findings of this report:
Around 50% of respondents chose to stay in their mobility destination. The proportion of students who have stayed in their exchange destination decreased slowly during the time that the survey was open.
Less than 20% of mobilities were cancelled.
15% of incoming students have experienced discrimination based on their nationalities, either to a great extent or to a very great extent.
The majority of students do not know what will happen to their grants.
Over 90% of respondents said courses moved online either fully or partially.
Students experienced at least one major problem related to their exchange. The most common one was related to the loss of transportation to return home, followed by problems with accommodation and problems with access to basic needs such as food and sanitary products.
Around 30% of respondents were faced with stress and anxiety.
“What has happened since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak impacted the lives of many, including people on mobility. Higher Education Institutions and ESN Romania alike tried to handle the situation to the best of our power and this report comes like a reflection tool for us all to take a deep look into these findings, review our actions, and learn, so that we may better cope with unforeseen situations in the future. It is true that some matters were out of our reach, but we must also acknowledge some mistakes were made. Standing as one for the benefit of both incoming and outgoing students should be a priority on our agendas if we are ever faced with a similar situation. We, as ESN Romania, will work on improving with every step of this journey and will never always prove that we are students helping students, even if, for now, we do this from the comfort of our homes.”
Alex Pieptea, President of ESN Romania
Below you can find the report regarding the situation in Romania, and here you can find the report conducted by ESN AISBL.