The Corona Pandemic has so far turned the world upside down and many things are no longer as we are used to them. However, the effects of the pandemic are particularly felt by international students who want to fulfil their dream of studying in Germany.
Embassies and visa centres abroad had to cease operations, which means that many students are at risk of missing the start of the semester in Germany and thus losing their hard-won study place and the chance for education.
We hear from students who are reaching out for help as they gave up their jobs in their home country, meaning their previously stable lives, to pursue their dream: studying in Germany.
For this reason, we at Fintiba want to use our voice to make a difference. With this open letter we address all parties involved to support the international exchange and the opportunities for international students in Germany:
- The European Union to set the European framework for support of international exchange
- German embassies to prioritize students with granted admissions in issuing visas open visa offices wherever possible
- German universities to allow maximum flexibility for late arrivals in terms of study start and provision of accommodation
- German Health Insurer to wave fees for the time students have not arrived in Germany yet
Already in our study from last year (2019), we focused on the hurdles faced by international students and made recommendations for action: https://www.fintiba.com/study-fintiba-stifterverband/.
We should not forget that the attractivity of Germany as a study destination is based on the internationality of our university systems. International students, of which over 50% study STEM-programmes, are a key pillar in the activities to fill Germanys gap in skilled labour. It is therefore in our overall interest to do everything possible to bring normality back into international student mobility.
Of course, the current Corona pandemic makes many situations more difficult and our everyday life is not the same as it used to be. However, as we at Fintiba have been striving since the beginning of 2017 to make it easier for many international students to come to Germany, we do everything within our power to emphasize once again the importance of international exchange.
International students and scientists who come to Germany to study, teach, research, and live bring in an incredible variety of perspectives and approaches to enrich the diversity as well as academic discourses at German universities. On top of that, they encourage an improved intercultural exchange and the reflection of different ways of thinking. In this way not only the quality of education and research is improved to reach academic excellence, but also tolerance and open-mindedness are promoted.
We therefore sincerely hope that all parties share this belief with us and together with us do everything in their power to remove the current hurdles. We are already looking forward to the many courageous and strong international students who will come to Germany for the next semester! Because we agree: #EducationIsNotTourism.
Stay strong & healthy!
Bastian Krieghoff, founder and CEO of Fintiba