If the first half of 2020 was a period of rapid reaction and response, the second half has been about planning for the future. The International Student Projects are working on their plans for 2020/21 and including contingency planning in case the current pandemic has not passed.
In early 2020, the projects were confronted with radically unexpected developments which required great flexibility and quick decision-making. Ultimately, the projects were not able to travel to their planned destinations and the study tours had to be cancelled at short notice. In the 2020/21, the projects have intensified their risk analysis processes and introduced a requirement that al projects develop contingency plans in case travel to their preferred destinations is not possible.
The project teams are working tirelessly to ensure that the projects’ learning goals can be achieved.
“SUSTAIN AND GAIN – together for a more sustainable future”
Currently, the COVID-19 situation in the USA would not allow travel and even if it were possible, it is unlikely that the project’s goals could be achieved. In addition, there are other significant risks associated with the current political situation in some of the cities the project initially planned to visit. Therefore, the team decided to place primal travelling focus on Canada.
Option 1 – Travelling to Canada only.
Option 2 – Developing a transatlantic seminar in Switzerland with a combination of company visits, a stay in a seminar hotel and activities at the FHNW premises. This option includes workshops, case studies, challenges as well as on-site and online speeches by experts from North America and Switzerland.
Option 3 – Developing an online-only seminar investigating the project’s themes with experts from North America and Switzerland.
“How resilient is China in times of COVID-19?”
It is currently not possible to apply for visas for travel to China except in very specific cases and it is unlikely that the situation will change significantly in 2020. However, we are hopeful for 2021. In addition, certain cities /regions are considered risky
Option 1 – The People’s Republic of China – Beijing, Lanzhou, Shanghai, Shenzhen
Option 2 – Investigating their topic in abrader East Asian context by visiting Japan, South Korea or Taiwan
Option 3 – Developing an online seminar with speakers from Switzerland, China and potentially other Asian nations investigating the projects themes with experts.
“One Entity- Smart, Digital & Sustainable”
Even though the ASEAN region reacted to the pandemic instantly and has managed to keep a low number of cases, the situation is still going to be critical until the time of the on-site seminar. In order to have a successful project, following options are being analyzed.
Option 1 – Travelling to Vietnam, Thailand, and Singapore.
Option 2 – ASEANplus, including Singapore and extended Asian countries like Japan or South Korea.
Option 3 – Live seminar in Switzerland, by inviting local speakers and organizing virtual company visits or virtual events with our partners from ASEAN countries.
“Transform India’s challenges into opportunities, digitally, flexibly, sustainably”
The number of COVID-19 cases in India is currently increasing rapidly and it would not be possible for the project to travel there at this time. However, we are constantly monitoring the situation and adjusting our risk analysis accordingly. At this point in time, the options for the on-site project are as follows:
Option 1 – Usual on-site seminar in India
Option 2 – Development of an on-site seminar in Switzerland in close cooperation with the Indian partners (companies and universities) of Focus India.
Aside from the project teams, the School is monitoring the situations in all our countries and regions very carefully. While we are aware that the students would very much prefer to travel to their preferred destinations and complete their study tours as originally planned, the projects teams, staff and school take their responsibilities to the students, sponsors and partners extremely seriously.
In 2021, all four International Student Projects will run and all four will provide their students with a vivid and memorable learning experience. The projects’ goals will be achieved: we hope that the projects can travel, but we have plans in case that is not possible.