According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), 449.275 people have tested to be infected with the Covid 19 virus during the corona pandemic in Germany, at this time 112.477 people are infected (as of October 27th).
Studying or spending a semester abroad enables students to get to know other countries, meet interesting people and experience everyday life in a foreign environment – and for many young people it is now an integral part of their higher education. At the moment, however, the corona pandemic is making academic exchange difficult. Six questions and answers show what it is currently possible inside Europe.
The courses are heavily oversubscribed: each year, some 45,000 applications are submitted for one of the 9,000 or so available places to study medicine in Germany. The grade achieved in the applicant’s university entrance qualification plays an important role: 30 percent of students are selected according to their performance in their final school exams. 60 percent of students are chosen by the universities themselves on the basis of an aptitude test specific to the subject of the degree course in question. This takes into account at least two criteria that have nothing to do with school grades, such as a completed course of vocational training or a recognised professional activity. The remaining ten percent of applicants are picked on the basis of an “additional aptitude quota”: this likewise gives consideration to practical experience, e.g. in nursing care or laboratory work; selection interviews or prizes in science competitions can also play a part.
Originally intended for international exchange, it is now helping during the corona crisis: the MyScore (Mobility System Cooperation in Higher Education) project makes it possible for teachers and students to engage in exchange in the virtual sphere. Wearing VR goggles, they meet as avatars there in various 3D settings for online courses. “Because of the pandemic more widespread use is now being made of such options”, explained blended learning expert and RWTH professor Heribert Nacken in an interview with the specialist magazine “Forschung & Lehre”. “Many lecturers have discovered the potential offered by digital technology and now want to incorporate these formats into their courses long-term. For exams we have been using a solution we developed ourselves (‘Dynexite’), which can also be used by other universities.”
“When the corona pandemic began in the spring, I decided not to return to uni in Stuttgart. I had been spending the holidays at home in Spain and wanted to be with my family during those difficult times. The 2020 summer semester took place online for all students. I had the impression that it was very challenging for many people, myself included. We had a heavy workload and were unable to meet in person with our professors or fellow students.