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Announcement for International Studies students who applied for Exchange or other Study Abroad programmes next semester

8 April 2020

Dear students who have applied for Exchange or other Study Abroad programmes next semester,

We understand the unfortunate uncertainty surrounding study abroad from September 2020. We are assuming it will proceed as usual, but it is currently impossible to know for sure if all travel restrictions will have been lifted. The Exchange officers are doing everything they can to obtain clear answers from the university, but it may take a little while before these can be provided. Hence the need to consider a Plan B, meaning organizing an internship or choosing a minor.

We are aware that both of these options have limitations, aside from being not what you had planned for. However, we are working on making things easier:

  • It is still possible to sign up for Organisational Theory, Culture and Behaviour in order to pave the way for an internship next academic year. If you are interested to follow this path, first take a good look at the course in Blackboard. If you feel this is something that truly interests you, please contact your coordinator of studies, who can guide you further through the process. Please note that an internship abroad can face the same problems that exchange faces. Moreover, even within the Netherlands it may be more challenging to find an internship now. So if an internship is your plan B, you might even need a plan C (a minor) just in case.
  • We are looking at the current minor options and will expand where possible the number of minors or minor-equivalents available. We will keep you updated on this.
  • If the physical exchange turns out to not be possible, there may be the option of following online courses at your exchange university. This will probably not answer your expectations of study abroad, but it may be a wise decision if you want to prevent delaying your graduation. However, not all courses are equally suitable for online education (think of courses that would normally entail many contact hours). You should take that into account when making a decision. 
  • Finally, we also understand the suggestion from some students to delay their study abroad by a semester or a year. This would obviously have consequences – travelling abroad in Spring 2021 will mean missing PRINS and Language in Practice and, hence, a graduation delay of one year, while travelling abroad in Autumn 2021 will mean a delay of six months. We take this option seriously, but everything depends on the numbers per university and whether this can be accommodated. The number of places for exchange is limited and delaying your exchange will mean many more students will have to be accommodated at a later point in time, together with the students who are not delayed. We do not have enough information to guarantee this option, so this also does have risks.

Please do contact your study advisor when considering your Plan B (or C), for further advice.

We know that this probably does not answer all your questions, but it is all we can offer at the moment. There is still too much uncertainty about the near future to be able to plan ahead any further. Please keep an eye on https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/dossiers/coronavirus-en/updates-en to stay up to date with the latest information.

The International Studies Programme Board

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