The number of URV students applying to undertake an international study visit increases above pre-pandemic levels

The University has welcomed international students

International students after the welcoming ceremony.

A total of 563 students from the Universitat Rovira i Virgili will pursue mobility studies at other universities over the course of the current academic year, and a further 219 international students from other universities are either already studying at the URV or are expected to do so in the coming months. Applications for study visits at international universities have bounced back after falling last year due to the pandemic.

In fact, although the figures are still provisional because there will be new mobility programmes later on in the year, for now, the number of URV students who will undertake undergraduate studies at foreign universities is already 24% higher than it was in 2019/20. Obviously, the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in the middle of that academic year and severely disrupted the plans of the 454 URV students who had intended to study elsewhere and the 444 external students hoping to study at the URV.

While the number of URV students who have applied for international study visits has increased above pre-pandemic levels, the same cannot be said for the number of international students who have arrived at the URV or will do so throughout the academic year (219), although there are more than last year (120) and this figure is expected to increase throughout the second semester.

Some of these students attended the welcome event that the URV holds on its Catalunya Campus every year. They were addressed by the Vice-Rector for Internationalization, John Style, the head of the International Center, Marina Casals, and the coordinator of the Language Service, John Bates, all of whom emphasized the importance of the “transformative experience” to be gained from living and studying in another country. John Style also pointed out that the presence of international students on campus will bring international experience to URV students.

John Bates, coordinator of the Language Service, described the social and political context of Catalonia for the students.

On the other side of the coin, many ‘home’ URV students have been able to rekindle the original plans that they had to study elsewhere. This is the case of Marina Bardou, who is in the last year of her Psychology degree at the Niccolò Cusano University (Rome, Italy). This year she has decided to embark on the journey she decided to cancel last year, after having been awarded an Erasmus scholarship to study in Poland.

Paula Correcher, a double degree student in Law and Labour Relations is also waiting her turn; in February she will fly to Portugal to complete an Erasmus at the University of Bragança. “I am very excited about the next stage in my life as an Erasmus student, especially after giving up the place that I was awarded for the 2020/21 academic year because the COVID-19 crisis meant that I wasn’t going to be able make the most of it”.

International students who are now at the URV have found themselves in a similar situation, for example, Ceylin Sayalan and Thomas Kieble, German Erasmus students who have met on the Degree in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at the URV: “When COVID started I decided to wait before applying for a mobility visit,” says Kieble.

Micaela Sánchez, a student from Uruguay who is studying a degree in Psychology at the URV through the ISEP mobility programme, also postponed her stay. All three are hoping that their experience at the URV will enable them to learn about the culture and the language and have already made several trips to get to know their new surroundings.

The Factoria Folk group performed during the welcoming ceremony for international students.
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