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COVID-19 Response: Spring 2021 Semester


Updated Thursday, September 17th, 2020.

IFE in spring 2021

IFE is proceeding with plans to welcome students to all three Francophone sites, as well as Asturias in Spain this coming semester. The borders in Belgium, France and Spain, though closed for regular travelers, are open to students. In the US, visa centers for these countries have reopened or made adjustments for a mail-in application process. As long as these policies are in place, IFE will operate its programs in Asturias, Brussels, Paris and Strasbourg in the fall as usual, over a full, 18-week semester. 

These are unusual times, and we understand that circumstances and plans can change, IFE has therefore made a few adjustments to make the application and visa process easier: 

  • The application deadline for all programs has been pushed back to October 18th, though the usual rolling admission policy is still in effect. 
  • The start dates for all programs has been pushed back to February 1st to allow more time for processing the visa.
  • Modifications have been made to students’ financial engagement. Information on refunds and withdrawals can be found here

Health and safety at IFE for S21
Obviously, concerns and plans for student health and wellbeing are more important than the preceding logistical and administrative matters. IFE is actively working on a Covid 19 Plan to detail its actions and reactions on a number of safety questions in preparation for S21. This document will be published here in the very near future, as soon as it is completed.

Public health in France, Belgium and Spain
Returning vacationers are cited as the likely impetus for a rise in cases in both France and Belgium, and official measures in response to the uptick have been swift and firm in both countries. As everywhere, Europe is still learning about Covid-19 and how best to respond.
The hope is that the current level of public compliance – high – will prove sustainable.
In Spain, Asturias has won kudos across Europe as one of the best-prepared and best-acting regions in response to the pandemic threat.

IFE Paris is open this fall
A small cohort of students – whose university made a case-by-case determination on study abroad for this fall – is currently studying with IFE in the Paris Field Study and Internship Program. Of course, social distancing requirements are being carefully observed both at IFE and outside. Within those constraints students are able to experience and learn at the usual impressive rate, including rapid improvement in French skills, even when spoken through a mask!
The fall semester program has been divided into three segments: initial online orientation and early training before arrival in France; a 90-day in-country segment including a nine-week fulltime internship; and a final few weeks of the program conducted virtually. By doing so, IFE removed the need for a student visa, given the uncertainty about visas which reigned until well after students needed to act.

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