Denmark has slowly reopened and life is returning to a state of near-normality. However, COVID-19 keeps affecting us as other countries struggle with infection rates on the rise and second waves looming. Still, UCPH will see international student mobility this coming semester, only on a smaller scale.
Along with the phased reopening of Denmark, UCPH is also starting to reopen our campuses for students and staff. Of course, with changes, hurdles to pass and lessons learned, but also with a sense of having overcome the worst part of the COVID-19 crisis.
Our work in international education implies that we look beyond our own borders. When Denmark closed down in March, we focused on our students who were abroad at the time and on our many international students staying here in close contact with our partners. Once the acute situation of closed borders had been dealt with, we zoomed in on transforming UCPH to an online university. Besides this, we handed restrictions in Denmark and structuring our everyday professional and personal lives in new ways – as students, staff and families.
While we may now have a sense of coming out on the other side of the crisis in Denmark and even in Europe, news from around the world prompts us to zoom out and reminds us that other countries struggle with increasing infection rates and a potential second wave. These days, much of our focus is on the state of affairs in our partner countries. How many of our students will be able to study abroad? Will our international students be able to make it to Denmark from their home countries? And how will the ’new normal’ affect international higher education in the future?
It’s a blended picture of mixed emotions: Happy that things in Denmark are headed in the right direction; concerned about the continued spread of the virus and second waves elsewhere. Happy that we are able to receive and send out some students; sad that many students did not get the international experience they had dreamed of.
Zooming in and out, there is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic is having a huge impact on higher education with a considerable slowdown of internationalisation. Despite these challenges, HEIs have reacted positively, often implementing new solutions to continue to deliver teaching, research and service to society and partners.
We look forward to our continued collaboration.
By Acting Director of International Education, Anne Bruun