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FAQs for students in mobility - Coronavirus Emergency

Last
update
08.04.2020
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These FAQs  are based on the information provided in the Q&A concerning Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps activities in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and on the information from the National Agency Indire (31/3/2020) - in Italian. This page will be updated following changes in the situation and government response. Please consult regularly.

Return to Italy

If you have decided to return to Italy for the Covid-19 emergency, before leaving, carefully read the provisions for those who enter our country (in Italian) and complete the mandatory self-certification that you find in that same page. Possible reasons for "absolute urgency/necessity" to be indicated in the self-certification could be: 

  • Closure of the student residences in the host countries
  • Expiry of the rental agreement in the host country
  • The natural ending of the mobility period/ending of the mobility scholarship
  • The host university has strongly suggested you returned to your home country  
  • Lack of liability or health insurance cover

You need to notify your arrival to Regione Toscana by filling in this form. If you are abroad and need assistance, besides contacting outgoing.erasmus (AT)unifi.it, you can also contact the ESN Erasmus Student Network. They can help with translations for hospitals, consulates and other emergency needs. More information (in Italian).

FAQs – Incoming Students

D.1 Can I continue my mobility in distance mode from my country?

Yes, you can easily follow the lectures in your home country by accessing the online learning platform. The teaching staff of the courses you are attending will be able to answer any queries that you might have by email or other remote means.

D.2 If I take the online classes of the University of Florence from my home country, can I keep my scholarship?

Yes, the EC said that the scholarships can be retained even if the students attend classes in remote mode. Of course, you also need to check with your home university. Please consult the page.

D.3 If I am taking remote classes (from my home country) I can take the distance exams? What is the procedure in this case? Do you have specific instructions?

Yes, you can take exams in remote mode via Google Meet video calls. Instructions here.

D.4 If I take my exams remotely, do I still have the option to re-take them? If so, how?

Yes, of course. Same as for all Italian students. If you re-take it in the same session the procedure will be the same.

D.5 Is the April exam session accessible to incoming students, even for those who arrived in the second semester, if the course has already ended?

Yes it is, provided that the course has already ended.

D.6 What kind of certification can I obtain if I have returned to my home country but I am still following classes remotely? Can I have a certificate of participation/departure?

We are still waiting for guidance on this topic from the National Agency INDIRE. Technically we cannot provide a certificate of closure, but we can provide a certification of departure from Florence. In an emergency situation such as this one plane tickets/boarding cards are considered valid proof. We need to distinguish two different cases:

  1. if you have left Florence due to COVID-19 emergency and upon returning home you have given up mobility we can issue you a certificate with the date of arrival and departure from Florence (air tickets/boarding passes or equivalent);
  2. if you have left Florence due to COVID-19 emergency and upon returning home you are continuing to take remote classes and then remote exams, we can certify the period that you were physically in Florence (you need to provide travel documentation) and that you are continuing with your mobility albeit “in remote mode” therefore we will not issue an Erasmus closure certificate.

D.7 If I wish to terminate my mobility and have returned to my home country do I need to send my “libretto” by post (with a scanned copy by email) together with the list of exams taken and my departure from Florence ticket?

Instructions to this regard will follow.

D.8 If I wish to terminate my mobility what documentation do I need to obtain?

Instructions to this regard will follow. If you request to terminate your mobility you can receive straight away a certification by email in case you need it in your home country for the scholarship.

D.9 What happens if I have lost my “libretto” or if I haven’t returned it because the offices were already closed when I left?

In case of loss, you would normally need to report it to the Police and then produce filing report, but given the situation, now a self-declaration of loss or misplacement will suffice.
If you didn't get a chance to return it, on the other hand, please mail it to our Erasmus office as soon as feasible.

D.10 If I have given up my mobility can I come back next year?

Yes, but we are still awaiting guidelines from the EC and the National Agencies regarding the funding.

D.11 If I have interrupted or closed my mobility and have acquired some CFUs, can I complete it somehow in the next semester or reopening the mobility?

Normally yes, but we are still awaiting precise indications from the EC and the National Agencies.

FAQs – Outgoing Students

Can I continue my study/traineeship/research period abroad regardless of the Covid-19 emergency?

You can, but you need to follow the indications provided by the University, the host university/company, and by national, regional and local governments and following the recommendations that come from the WHO regarding the behaviours to be kept in the host country and from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website “Viaggiare sicuri”.

What are my options right now?

You can decide either of the following:

  1. Remain in the host institution and continue to attend, through distance learning if necessary, the lectures delivered by the university or, in the case of an internship, working remotely;
  2. if you return to Italy, follow the online lectures of the host institution, until in-person classes resume at the host institution or even until the end of the period. For Erasmus students this option is still being evaluated by the National Agency;
  3. interrupt your mobility and be reintegrated into your original study plan, without penalty to your academic career due to the interruption of mobility, by attending remote lectures at your home University same as all your colleagues;
  4. suspend your mobility and resume it later, if this is at all possible;
  5. cancel your mobility, if you haven’t started it yet.
  6. reschedule the mobility by moving it to the following semester, subject to acceptance and availability of the host institution.

Should the classes/training activity at the host university/institution be interrupted, do I have to return to Italy?

No, you can decide to wait for the activities to reopen. If the host university/institution requires it, you can take your courses in e-learning mode or in case of an internship, in smart working mode from your home in the host country. If you are doing an internship, you need to obtain the approval of your university tutor. In all cases (whether the host university/institution/company has implemented online / smart working teaching), the suspension will not be considered an interruption of mobility and the scholarship will be maintained. Please check your health insurance coverage, especially if you are doing your mobility in a non-EU country.
We remind you that you are covered by an insurance taken out by the University for accidents and civil liability. Coverage requires that you communicate the exact dates of any extension required. As far as health care is concerned, if you took out private insurance before leaving, read the policy conditions carefully to understand the duration of the coverage and, if necessary, contact your insurance company for more information or request an extension of the duration.

Can I return to Italy and conclude the experience abroad remotely?

We are awaiting a final decision from the National Agency with regards to Erasmus students. However, we expect the final decision to be positive if, obviously, the host institution/company has put in place distance learning or smart working. If you are doing an internship, you need to obtain the approval of your university tutor.
In case of mobility calls issued by the University, the answer is yes. The exams may be taken at the host institution, in the event that the emergency has ended, or remotely, if possible. Inquire at the host institution regarding the possibility of taking the exams remotely.
The period you will spend in back Italy will not be covered by the scholarship. As well as participating in the activities offered online by the host institution/university, you can resume the courses at your home University, currently delivered remotely.
By contacting the Office that manages your mobility, you can check whether it is necessary to redefine your Learning Agreement.
We remind you that you are covered by an insurance taken out by the University for accidents and civil liability. Coverage requires that you communicate the exact dates of your return to Italy and of any return to the host venue to take the exams.

If I return to Italy what happens from the didactic point of view (in terms of credit recognition)?

The activities carried out up to the time of your return will be recognized in your career on the basis of the Transcript of Records/certificate issued by the host organization. You will be reintegrated into your original study plan, without penalizing your academic career due to the interruption of mobility. If the National Agency allows it, as explained in the previous FAQ, you can continue the experience abroad remotely provided that the host institution/company has activated distance learning or smart working.

If I return to Italy what happens from a financial point of view (scholarship and reimbursement of expenses)?

The scholarship is counted on the basis of the period actually carried out and certified by the host university/institution/company. For Erasmus + study and apprenticeship, the scholarship is calculated on the days actually carried out while for University of Florence-called non-EU programs, what was stated in the call will prevail.
In the event that you have received a scholarship greater than the one due at the start of the mobility, you will be required to return the scholarship.
In the event that the initial scholarship is less than the period completed (and previously agreed), you will receive the balance.
For mobilities interrupted due to Covid-19, the force majeure principle applies: unexpected expenses incurred for the early return can also be covered on top of the scholarship. The itemized expenses must be authorized by the National Agency for the Erasmus + program and by the University for the other mobility programs, within the limit of the cost-effectiveness of the expenses themselves and the availability of resources. We will communicate how to request a refund as soon as the information will become available.
All students are invited to keep all receipts for travel costs (airline ticket etc.), deposit for accommodation or travel pass costs, for which no refund has been received following cancellations. The timing of the refund will be announced as soon as possible. In the event that you still have to receive or return part of the scholarship to the University, an adjustment will be made between the amount of the scholarship and the amount of the expenses.

Once I am back, can I return to the host university/institution once the situation is under control?

If your mobility was interrupted in the initial phase, you have the possibility to resume it, provided that there is still availability at the host university/institution/company, and compatibly with the schedule of your academic program (i.e. without delaying your graduation or qualification).
The academic year 2019/2020 of the Erasmus + study and traineeship program in Europe, which was to end on 30 September 2020, will be extended to 31 May 2021.

For the Erasmus + program outside the EU (KA107), the mobility-related to the 2018 project can be completed by 31 July 2021 instead of 31 July 2020 (PENDING FINAL APPROVAL FROM INDIRE)

FAQs – Students waiting to start their mobility abroad

Can I start my study/internship/research period abroad now?

No. Both on the basis of the provisions of the Italian government and on the indication of the European Commission, all incoming and outgoing mobilities are suspended until further notice. We suggest you reschedule your mobility starting from the months of July/August, after checking the availability of the host institution first.

Can I start my study/internship/research period from Italy now?

We advise you NOT to.  Even if the host university/institution/company offers the student to start mobility remotely from Italy, it is advisable not to proceed. The risk is that of not being able to see mobility realized in light of the continuous restrictions that other countries are also adopting. Furthermore, it is very likely that this modality will not be considered eligible under the Erasmus+ program if there has been no period abroad.

What should I do if the internship that I should have carried out abroad affects the awarding of my title?

The student and the tutor will consider converting it, if possible, into an internship in Italy, currently in smart working mode.

What can I do if I have already incurred the costs of carrying out the cancelled mobility?

For mobilities cancelled due to Covid-19, the force majeure principle is applicable: expenses already incurred for the cancelled mobility can be covered.

All itemized expenses must be authorized by the National Agency for the Erasmus+ program and by the University for the other mobility programs, within the limit of the cost-effectiveness of the expenses themselves and the availability of resources. We will let you know how to request a refund as soon as the information becomes available. Please make sure you keep all your receipts for travel costs (airline ticket etc.), deposit for accommodation or travel pass costs, for which no refund has been received following cancellations. The timing of refund will be communicated as soon as possible.

Can I leave for the host university/institution when the situation will be under control?

If your mobility was cancelled, you have the possibility to delay your departure, provided that there is still availability at the host university/institution/company, and compatibly with the schedule of your academic program (i.e. without delaying your graduation or qualification). The academic year 2019/2020 of the Erasmus+ study and traineeship program in Europe, which was to end on 30 September 2020, will be extended to 31 May 2021.

For the Erasmus+ program outside the EU (KA107), the mobility related to the 2018 project can be completed by 31 July 2021 instead of 31 July 2020 (PENDING FINAL APPROVAL FROM INDIRE)

In the case of an Erasmus+ traineeship, even if you have been selected for an internship during the course of your studies, you can carry out your mobility after your graduation/qualification award, provided it is within 12 months of obtaining the qualification. If you decide to postpone the mobility, you advised not to make your travel and stay plans too early and check the evolution of the emergency situation in the different countries.

Summary

Interrupted mobilities, continued through distance learning in Italy

Given the exceptional situation, the National Agency INDIRE has been asked for the possibility that Erasmus students who intend to take distance classes from Italy or continue the internship in smart working in Italy are considered students in mobility to all intents and purposes, and therefore the credits for mobility be recognized.
For non-EU calls issued by the University, the answer is yes. The exams can be taken in the location where the students were posted, in case of that the emergency ends, or online where possible, by planning them in advance. The period spent in Italy will not be covered by the scholarship. If you fall into this case, you will have to follow the learning agreement that was approved before your departure, as it will result in all respects on mobility, although only virtual. Parallel to the activities offered online by the host institution/university, you may resume all learning activities at the University of Florence, currently delivered remotely. You can contact the Office that manages your mobility to can check whether it is necessary to redefine your Learning Agreement or not.

Interrupted mobilities

Erasmus mobilities which, due to force majeure generated by the Covid-19 health emergency, were stopped early (with or without observing the minimum duration) following the notice given by the student and verified by the university, must also be authorized by the Erasmus+ Italy National Agency. If your mobility falls within the framework of non-EU calls issued by the University of Florence, you need to obtain the authorization to interrupt the mobility from the office managing the call. In the event of interrupted mobility, students can request reimbursement of costs already incurred and which could not be recovered through travel companies, travel agencies, insurance companies and/or other entities.

It is therefore mandatory that you keep all receipts and invoices and any documentation proving your expenses and the lack of reimbursement.

Details on the procedure for reimbursement will be communicated as soon as available.

Suspended mobilities (with a subsequent resumption of the activity)

For Erasmus mobility, the suspension period is not calculated for the purpose of the minimum duration of the mobility period but will be calculated for the maximum duration period of 12 months for each study cycle for which the same student can receive mobility grants.

Cancelled mobilities

For the mobility cancelled shortly before the departure due to force majeure generated by the health emergency "Covid-19", as proven by your communication and verified by the university, you may request reimbursement of costs already incurred and that it was not possible to recover through travel companies, travel agencies, insurance companies and/or other entities.

You will be reintegrated into your original study plan, without penalizing your academic career due to the interruption of the mobility.

Further information