It's no surprise that Erasmus studies have been largely impacted by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. By now it is clear that it had a very disruptive effect on many aspects of our societies in Europe and indeed the whole world. Lithuania was no different. The mental well-being of students was negatively impacted. This also stems from the fact that for some it can be way more complicated to return home and they haven't seen their friends and family for a long time.
Regarding changes in the regular life for exchange students, Erasmus Student Network wanted to capture the experiences of students and trainees across Europe regarding the impact of COVID-19 on their mobility experience through a research report on the topic.
Some of the key findings of the report are the following:
Almost two-thirds of the students' mobility periods continued. A quarter of them were cancelled.
The proportion of students who have stayed in their exchange destination decreased slowly during the time that the survey was open.
37.5% of the 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.
24% of Italian students and 19% of Asian students have experienced discrimination based on their nationalities, either to a great extent or to a very great extent.
7% of the students reported that they will not get any grant at all for their studies. 24% reported that they will keep the grant, partially or fully. The majority of students do not know what will happen to their grants.
Half of the students whose mobility continued have moved to online classes. 34% of them have moved to partial online or partially postponed classes.
Three-quarters of the students whose mobilities were cancelled got support from their home universities. The most common form was support with course schedules and the academic programme.
ESN Lithuania acknowledges the situation that is happening and understands the issues that exchange students have to go through. The transition to the virtual world has not been easy for many. However, many local sections of ESN Lithuania are creating online events, since, before the Covid-19 situation stabilizes, we do not recommend having any phisycal events, parties, or gatherings according to the national regulations.
From ESN Lithuania's position, we are hoping to create more virtual possibilities for students to enjoy their exchange studies during such uncertain times. The current situation asks from us to stay patient and work together for an easier future.