Coronavirus – Information for students about exchange/MFS

As from 14 March the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs advice against non-essential trips abroad.

For information in Swedish

This page was updated on 3 April 2020. New information is marked "NEW!". Updated information is marked "Updated!"

Updated!

The Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (UD) has on 3 April decided to prolong the advice against non-essential travel to all countries until 15 June 2020. 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs decided to also recommend Swedish citizens abroad to consider returning to Sweden as soon as possible (UD:s avrådan). 

Stockholm University's information for students and staff about the coronavirus can be found here: Information for students and staff about the coronavirus

Information below is for Stockholm University students currently abroad on exchange, traineeship or MFS:

Students who are currently abroad on exchange/MFS 

Updated!

Stockholm University recommends students abroad to look into the possibilities to complete their exchange studies at the host university from Sweden through distance education. Please contact your home department at Stockholm University if you have any questions. 

The spread of the new corona virus in the world is extensive and the situation for those currently abroad can change very quickly. More and more countries are now introducing different measures with short notice to limit the spread of the virus in the country, something that may also affect possibilities to travel. It may become more complicated to travel. Stockholm University therefore urges students abroad to look into their possibilities to return to Sweden. 

Everyone is asked to stay updated via the travel information of the Swedish embassy on Sweden Abroad or in the app UD Resklar, as well as to sign up to the list for swedes (svensklistan) in the country.

  • The emergency number to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: +46 8 405 5005. 

For insurance issues: 

Information about the The Ministry of Foreign Affairs work related to the coronavirus:
https://www.regeringen.se/artiklar/2020/03/information-om-uds-arbete-med-anledning-av-coronaviruset/

Support from student organizations

Student organizations in Europe are happy to provide on-site support and assistance to international students. Students located in another European country can contact local student organizations with any questions, such as about studies and rights, or if help is needed in contact with healthcare and authorities (eg if something needs to be translated).

The European Students Union (ESU) has a database of contact information for its member organizations and possibly specific information regarding the Coronavirus. The list is constantly updated.

The Erasmus Student Network (ESN) is located at universities across Europe and is happy to help those students who need support. Here is a list of national and local ESN sections.

Even in countries outside Europe, it may be possible to contact national or local student organizations for support and advice.

Students who wish to interrupt their studies abroad and return to Sweden are advised to contact both the host and home department to discuss how the spring semester can be completed, for example via distance learning.

MFS students who are interrupting their field studies abroad are asked to contact their home department at Stockholm University to discuss how their work can be completed. They are also asked to contact the Student Services MFS-administrator (mfs@su.se). Students who interrupt their MFS due to COVID-19 will not be obliged to return their scholarships.

New! Force majeure in connection with Erasmus+

For Erasmus students and trainees who, due to covid-19, are prevented from completing their exchanges according to plan, there will be the opportunity to apply for force majeure in order to keep their Erasmus scholarship in whole or in part. Stockholm University will, as soon as the Swedish Council for Higher Education has drawn up guidelines for how the application should go, what costs can be claimed and which documents need to be attached, publish information about it.

New! Current and interrupted exchange studies and online courses/distant learning. 

  • If you after your arrival tp your host university were been informed that the university has postponed the start date of the semester, and choose to stay in the host contry until the semester starts, you can keep your scholarship while you are waiting. You do not have to apply for force majeure.  
  • If the partner university has closed and introduced distance / online learning, you are considered a student to participate in the exchange and retain your scholarship regardless of whether you study at a distance from the partner university, Sweden or another country. Your intention should be to return to the partner university when it opens. The same goes for internships, in cases where the organisation organised an internship that you can do digitally / without physically attending the internship. No force-majeure application needs to be made.
  • If you did not yet arrive at the partner university and started distance/online learning right away, you are considered taking part in the exchange programme and can keep your scholarship, as long as you participate in distance/online teaching either in the host country, in Sweden or in another country. Your goal should be to return to the host university once it opens for regular teaching.

For all three scenarios above, if you choose to cancel your exchange:

  • If you meet the minimum days for participation (60 days for internships, 90 days for studies), no application for force majeure needs to be made - you automatically retain your scholarship. If the number of days is less than planned, your scholarship will be adjusted in size.
  • If you cancelled the studies and did not meet the minimum days, you will be able to apply for a force majeure in order to retain a scholarship for the days you participated in the mobility. More information on how the application is processed will be published when the guidelines for the application have been drawn up.
  • It will be possible to apply to be allowed to retain scholarship funds for more days than you participated in the mobility - if you have had extra expenses, for example, that you had to pay for your accommodation in advance and cannot get money back when you interrupt mobility. More information on how the application is processed will be published when the guidelines for the application have been drawn up.

Currently, students are not asked to return to their home countries. However, this may change. Exchange students who wish to return home should contact their department at Stockholm University to discuss how the spring semester can be completed, for example via distance learning. Please note that distance learning may be offered during a specific period and that the teaching at Stockholm University may resume at a later stage. 

If you have questions regarding your student housing, please contact: housingoffice@su.se

Communication with the Swedish migration board: E-mail your decision of interrupting your stay in Sweden to GB-ORB-STUD@migrationsverket.seDo not forget to state your name, date of birth and the date of your planned departure. The migration board will give you further instructions.

Students who have not yet left Sweden for an exchange period/MFS (Minor Field Studies) abroad spring 2020

All outgoing exchanges are canceled until further notice this spring. New information may follow after 14 April when the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs may revise the decision according to the situation. Students are advised to contact their department at Stockholm University  to discuss how this new situation may affect their studies and/or thesis work. 

All field studies via MFS are postponed until further notice. New information may follow after 14 April when the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs may revise the decision according to the situation. Students are advised to contact their department at Stockholm University to discuss how this new situation may affect their studies and/or thesis work. 

NEW!

Application rounds Spring 2020 and Autumn 2020

Is Stockholm University allowed to approve new MFS scholarships at the moment?

No. Stockholm University is not allowed to approve new scholarships to countries where the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Utrikesdepartementet) dissuades travel. However, the university can still assess applications and inform students who are qualified for a scholarship that their scholarship will be approved as soon as the situation will change. In these cases it is important to take notice of the student's possibility to conduct the field study according to the MFS general terms and conditions. When the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs changes the travel restrictions the Stockholm university needs to consider paragraph 23 in MFS general terms and conditions 2019 (in Swedish) in regards to risk assessment of regions/countries that may not be suitable for students due to health, security and possibility to conduct the field study. The risk assessment is also considered for already approved scholarship recipients that have not yet departed Sweden.

Will the next application round take place (April 15 – May 5, 2020)?

Yes. Stockholm University has 25 scholarships left to be handed out with deadline May 5. Due to the current situation with COVID-19 it may be hard for students to be back in Sweden for the current deadline of January 31, 2021. The University has now decided to extend the time to conduct field studies until May 31, 2021. This means that students that apply for a MFS scholarship in the next application round (deadline May 5) can choose to conduct their field study during Autumn 2020 or Spring 2021.  

Please note: According to information from the Swedish Council for Higher Education (UHR), Stockholm University can not approve scholarships to countries that the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs dissuade travel to. Instead the student will receive a preliminary notice based on the recommendation of the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and will need to be followed up. The notice will show if the student is qualified for a scholarship. With the current situation the University cannot pay out any money, however this may change after the March 14, then the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs will update their travel restriction. No decisions will be taken before the travel restriction is removed from a specific region/country.  

Will there be an application round during Autumn 2020?

Yes. One application round is planned with a deadline of October 15, 2020. Stockholm University will apply for new MFS scholarships from the Swedish Council for Higher Education (UHR) in August – September and will get the notification of result in November 2020. Students will receive their notice of scholarship as soon as possible, with a planned field study during Spring 2021.  

If you, as an Erasmus student, did not have the opportunity to go to the partner university or organization, but started with distance learning directly, you are considered to participate in the exchange and will keep your scholarship regardless of whether you study at a distance from the partner university, in Sweden or another country. Your intention should be to travel to the university when it opens.

Stockholm University will unfortunately not be able to accept any incoming students until further notice. New information may follow after 14 April when the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs may revise the decision according to the situation.

We do not know what the situation will be this autumn in terms of the Foreign Ministry's advice or in the countries where we have partner universities. Students who have been nominated for exchange studies in the autumn of 2020 and students who apply through calls for applications in the autumn can apply as usual.

However, we recommend that students apply for courses at Stockholm University no later than April 15 in case the exchange is cancelled. It is important that students keep up to date through regular contact with their department or the Student Services (if the student's exchange studies is organised through a central agreement).

 

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