Update on the welcoming of international students for 2020/2021

As a result of the sanitary crisis linked to COVID-19, the University of Bordeaux has modified its welcome policy for international students. Joanne Pagèze, vice-president for internationalization, provides the details in the interview below.

  • 01/07/2020

What is the University of Bordeaux’s policy for welcoming international students as of September 2020?

In these exceptional circumstances, we unfortunately cannot welcome international (i.e. outside of Europe) candidates within the framework of an individual incoming mobility, unless the study program concerned may be fully provided via a distance learning solution. Our aim is to accommodate those international students who may not be able to arrive to the Bordeaux campus in time for the start of the academic year or who get here when classes are already underway. It must be possible for such students to follow their course from their home country, so that they do not miss out on any content.

When candidates receive a positive response concerning their admission to our university, they are informed of this particular condition. They may then pursue (or not) their registration, and must ensure sufficient access to digital resources (computer, internet connection, etc.) in their home country in order to follow the course via the distance learning solution indicated, should it prove necessary.

This means that those study programs that may not be delivered completely via a distance learning solution will not be able to welcome international (outside of Europe) students for the academic year 2020/2021. Certain specific programs, strongly oriented for international students (who are warned of the risks) and of a flexible format so that adjustments may be made for possible delays, are exceptions to this rule (see the faculty websites for more information).

This policy applies despite the reopening of the borders?

French borders have indeed reopened and the President of the French Republic has announced that student visa requests will benefit from priority processing.

However, the sanitary crisis over these last few months has provoked much uncertainty. We are very much aware that such uncertainty, in particular concerning travel conditions over the next months, may aggravate difficulties linked to obtaining a visa, managing flights or organizing accommodation. These difficulties could oblige students to delay or even to abandon their study plans, despite the announcements made by the government.

How will the start of the academic year 2020/2021 be organized for international (outside of Europe) students?

International students, registered at the University of Bordeaux, will follow their courses just like the French students. This means using the same hybrid methods, mixing classroom learning (while respecting the health recommendations) and distance learning. All registered students are informed of these methods, which depend on the study program and faculty in question.

International students who have been accepted for a study program, must however be prepared for the possibility of a late arrival to Bordeaux and/or to the campus, if for example, preventative quarantine measures are reinstated. For this reason, they must ensure that they have sufficient IT equipment and a reliable internet connection so that they may follow their courses via distance learning, either in their home country or in their student accommodation near to the University of Bordeaux campus (e.g. in the case of quarantine or a new lockdown).

For our certified or labelled study programs (double degrees, Erasmus Mundus program, International Masters), the University of Bordeaux teaching teams have worked with our international partners in order to adapt and rework programs together : reorganizing mobility calendars, adapting with distance learning solutions, implementing tutoring options, etc. As a result and just in case, certain mobility periods have already been postponed to the second semester.

What would be your advice to those students who cannot follow their study program?

We completely understand the disappointment of candidates who cannot register this year and regret that as a result, less international students will be welcomed to our campus. Nevertheless, we hope that they will be able to apply next year and therefore encourage them to postpone their mobility to Bordeaux until 2021/2022 if possible.

I would like to emphasize how important it is to the University of Bordeaux to guarantee high quality study programs as well as a high quality welcome and integration procedure, all essential for the success of our students. We remain focused on these priorities and are very proud to have been awarded the label “Choose France” in 2020. This label recognizes the quality of student welcome and living services at our university. We promise to maintain this high level of quality and the necessary conditions for the success of all those who study and research with us. In the current context that leads to much uncertainty and requires much flexibility, we must remain true to our standards.

Our university is an international one and we hope that next year we will be able to welcome back the usual high number of international students. Each year, approximately 6,200 international students, of all levels and representing all different types of mobility, come to live and learn in Bordeaux.