Keeping international mobility going in times of COVID-19


The COVID-19 pandemic impedes cross-border mobility. WU has launched several initiatives to maintain international mobility.

For example, Rector Edeltraud Hanappi-Egger is one of the signatories of a joint statement in which 30 renowned international universities confirm their commitment to international mobility, among them US universities such as Brown, Harvard, and Yale, the King’s College London, London School of Economics, Université Paris Dauphine-PSL, and Singapore Management University. Maintaining a spirit of solidarity and internationality is particularly important in times of crisis. The universities that have signed the statement aim to develop new ways of international cooperation and knowledge transfer. “Since the 12th century, international mobility has been a cornerstone of the academic world. And its importance has grown considerably over the centuries. In the last few years, there have also been some critical voices, however, motivated by climate concerns or certain political tendencies. Today, we’re facing the severe consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, which have led people to ask if it wouldn’t be better to go online-only for everything. Despite these legitimate concerns about sustainability and safety, we should not call the general concept of global mobility into question,” says WU Rector Hanappi-Egger.

WU welcomes 200 exchange students in the 2020/21 academic year

For many young people, spending an exchange semester abroad is their first opportunity to experience life in another country and in another language. For an internationally oriented university like WU, exchange programs are essential. Relative to the total number of students (WU is Austria’s 6th largest university), WU has more incoming and outgoing exchange students than any other Austrian university. Even though COVID-19 has led to a massive decrease in international student mobility worldwide, WU is still able to welcome around 200 exchange students from almost 40 countries this year. 75% of them are studying on location on Campus WU. For the students who have not been able to come to Vienna due to travel restrictions, all relevant courses are provided online. As part of the Engage.EU European University project, WU also launched an online exchange initiative together with its close partners, the Copenhagen Business School and the University of St. Gallen.

2020 Erasmus+ Days: WU podcast

Erasmus+ is a program that encourages academic mobility at all levels and also makes it possible to complete internships abroad. Every year, around 450 WU students spend a semester abroad at an Erasmus partner university, 80 students complete an international Erasmus internship, and some 40 WU employees go on an Erasmus teaching or training stay abroad. To present the program and the range of opportunities it offers, many (live and online) events are being held all over Europe this year from October 15 to 17 as part of the annual Erasmus+ Days.
WU is on board as well, contributing a podcast series.

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