Starting summer semester in digital mode

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Starting summer semester in digital mode

We’re quickly approaching the summer semester of 2021, and students around the globe are all eagerly awaiting the chance to get back into the classroom and really engage with in-person lessons, but while we are all still making the collective effort to prevent further spread of the virus and the emergence of new variants, the team at Steinbeis SMI is doing everything we can to keep our students safe while providing them with a life-changing education — and for many, that means opting for digital lessons for the time being.

We know that, for many students, learning online will feel different and might prompt feelings of missing out. Below, we’ve compiled some reassuring details about our programs and some information on the current legal restrictions in place. As the rules might have changed from the date we wrote this, we encourage you to check the links for the most up-to-date details on travel restrictions. And, as always, if you still have questions after reading through these FAQs, please reach out to our friendly, helpful team.

Guidance is being updated all the time, but at the moment, many countries have strict travel restrictions in place to help prevent further spread of the virus. This means that many countries are only allowing travel in urgent cases. 

For example, Germany’s Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community (BMI) states that for all but a few countries, nonessential travel is not allowed at the moment and that persons traveling from areas of variants of concern are not allowed to enter Germany. You might see online that, in very rare circumstances, some students who meet certain conditions and have obtained the correct visa can enter Germany to take examinations, but at Steinbeis SMI, our safety plans include the option for students to take their thesis defense digitally, so the exception would not apply to SMI students. Additionally, in line with nationwide guidance, all Berlin universities will initially hold lectures in digital mode only for the summer 2021 semester, which starts between April 1 and 12, 2021.

Although it’s best to check the relevant websites for the most up-to-date information (we’ve provided some links below to help you with that), even when you are allowed to travel and have received your student visa, you might be subject to restrictions such as:

  • Before arriving in Germany, you must register at https://www.einreiseanmeldung.de/#/ and have proof of registration with you upon entry.
  • Those who have stayed in a risk area within ten days of arriving in Germany must put themselves in a ten-day quarantine (not in shared accommodation) immediately upon entering Germany and must be tested for SARS-CoV-2 within  48 hours.. Some airports, including BER Airport, are offering antigen and PCR tests. In some cases and with approval, the quarantine period may be shortened to five days for those who have a negative test result.
  • Those who have stayed in a high-risk area (meaning an area with high case numbers or certain virus variants) within the last ten days before arriving in Germany will have to prove they are not infected with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus both before leaving and after arrival. To do this, they must present proof when arriving in Germany (e.g. a medical certificate or test result written in German, English or French from a test that was carried out within the specified time frame before entry) and be tested shortly after arrival.

With all of the restrictions in place at the moment, you might find that starting your chosen course of study now in your home country offers the best opportunity for you to build a solid foundation of knowledge in your chosen field. Then, once restrictions have been eased, you can still transfer to in-person studies at Steinbeis SMI to really build on that foundation and take full advantage of all that Berlin has to offer — including our innovative environment and life-changing networks and industry partnerships. 

 

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The Senate Chancellery – Science and Research and the State Conference of Rectors and Presidents of Berlin Universities (LKRP) have agreed that Berlin universities will initially hold lectures in digital mode only for the summer 2021 semester, which starts between April 1 and 12, 2021. The agreed principles for the implementation of the summer semester also provide for the possibility of opening up to more face-to-face events if and to the extent that the pandemic allows it in the course of the coming months.

Because we have such cutting-edge, immersive digital options for study, we feel confident that the decision to pause in-person learning will allow us to provide the highest level of protection for our students, our staff and our communities without hindering our students’ education. More than that, we believe that our digital offerings are opening up a world of educational opportunities, even when many of us are being told to stay at home. By starting to build that solid foundational knowledge now, our students are proactively preparing themselves to take full advantage of all that Berlin has to offer once restrictions are eased.

We understand that this way of working is new to some and that you might have some concerns, but we want to reassure you that our history of innovation means that we are fully prepared for the drive to digital. Whether your home country’s time zone is 8 hours behind or 5 hours ahead of Germany, we have options that will ensure you get the learning support you need at a time that suits you. Some of the support we offer includes:

  • Every international student can access career guidance and coaching support from our team of experts, so we can provide you with customized support and help you find the path that best suits your needs, experience and skills.
  • We can help develop a bespoke study model for each individual student, taking into account the mode of study (online or a hybrid model), the length of study and more.
  • Access to our impressive network of 200+ industry partners will continue with virtual employer fairs and internships. 
  • We are also planning to host monthly digital networking events for our international student community, which will encourage peer-to-peer interaction and the exchange of information.
  • Regular keynote sessions or webinar series will feature inspiring guest speakers and helpful information about SMI for students around the world.
  • We also have technology in place to allow examinations to go ahead digitally, and students can still digitally use our database and literature access tools.

Additionally, our team will continue to communicate with you and discuss your options if you want to switch to in-person learning once the restrictions are lifted, and if for any reason you’re not able to take part in face-to-face teaching at that point, we will continue to offer you digital and hybrid learning options.

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Starting with digital lessons now doesn’t mean you’ll have to do digital lessons forever. With experts around the world working hard to get this virus under control, we are confident that those who want to really immerse themselves in the many benefits of studying in Berlin will have the chance to do so.

Before you sign your study contract, we will work with you to arrange the study model you want and confirm the details, including information about payments and fees. If at any point you want to make amendments to that study model (including moving to in-person learning), we will help to make all of the necessary changes as soon as possible. Because there are some factors that are out of our control — like visa processing times — we can only provide more specific advice on timings on a case-by-case basis.

If you are already in Germany, there are currently no pandemic-related restrictions on travelers leaving Germany. However, current advice does caution against nonessential travel to many countries. You should also be prepared to self-quarantine after you return to Germany and/or obtain the necessary tests if your travel destination is designated a risk area before you travel or while you are there.

Life is about making connections, and we believe that education shouldn’t be any different. At Steinbeis SMI, we know that education extends beyond the classroom. That’s why we’ve pioneered our dual-education approach, combining traditional classroom learning with hands-on, real-world experiences — all while helping you build your network and making connections through our impressive partnerships with 200+ industry leaders. 

Even in these digital-only times, we firmly hold to those principles, which is why access to those life-changing connections will continue with virtual employer fairs and internships that will allow you to network and put theories into practice.

Our teams support teaching and examinations with online offerings, including database and literature access, and scanning services. Additionally, every international student can access career guidance and coaching support from our team of experts, so even from a distance, we will always work hard to provide you with customized support.

In terms of networking, we will continue to encourage students to access our impressive network of 200+ industry partners by hosting virtual employer fairs and internships. Less formal (but no less important) peer-to-peer connections will also be supported through monthly digital networking events for our international student community. On top of that, we will also invite inspiring guest speakers to host regular keynote sessions and webinar series to increase your knowledge and help you feel engaged with the SMI community.

As soon as the restrictions allow us to safely do so, we will look at ways to expand our offerings.

Unfortunately, we are not able to provide financial assistance for covering the costs of getting tested, obtaining the relevant medical certificates or purchasing the required international health insurance. We are, however, working with a third-party provider to offer our international students health insurance guidance and package solutions (such as blocked accounts). 

Covering your nose and mouth with the appropriate FFP2, KN95/N95 or surgical mask in Germany when on public transport, in shops or in busy outdoor places is a requirement, and you will be responsible for purchasing such masks. 

If you develop symptoms associated with COVID-19 (coughing, a runny nose, sore throat or fever) while in Germany, you should get in touch by phone with a doctor or contact the hotline 116 117. You should also record the contact details of your home country’s embassy or consulate in Germany in case you need to contact them. Additionally, please try to keep your designated international student representative updated on how you’re doing so we can best support you (and adjust your study plan, if needed). We are here to help you with any difficulties you might have.

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