International students will be welcomed to University College Dublin (UCD) for the autumn trimester, while all autumn exchange programmes for UCD students remain cancelled. There will also be no charge for incoming international students on-campus for the first 21 days. 

Currently, UCD Global is advising international students from outside of the island of Ireland to self isolate for 14 days upon arrival and to complete a Public Health Passenger Locator Form, in accordance with the government regulations. As these current guidelines are prone to change, UCD Global told The College Tribune that they are also advising international students to check the Irish Health Service COVID-19 Advice Page online to ensure they receive the latest information.

UCD Global advises international students to arrive by the 31st of August, as that will mean when the orientation week begins on the 14th of September, they will have finished self isolating. If a student cannot travel to Ireland by that date because of the lack of an available flight, alternative arrangements will be made to ensure they have access to orientation materials. At-distance learning alternatives will be available to international students who do not arrive on campus in time for the early part of the autumn trimester due to personal or travel reasons. UCD Global has warned students not to fly to Ireland if they have contracted COVID-19 before they are due to travel.

If international students have chosen to live on campus, they can move in starting from the 20th of August. UCD Residences has organised a paid food delivery service from the on-campus Centra grocery store for the students who need to self isolate. There will be no charge on the room they are assigned until the 10th of September, a period of 21 days. The room that is initially allocated to a student will remain theirs until the end of the licence period. 

The IUA (Irish Universities Association) is an organisation that represents all seven of the Irish universities. The IUA told The College Tribune that all of the universities will be welcoming international students in September. The aim of the universities will be to deliver a blended learning approach with as much on-campus engagement as possible as well as ensuring that there is no diminution in the standards of tuition given. 

In addition, the IUA said that the universities are aiming to deliver safe and modified orientation and extra-curricular activities to the incoming international students. Extra-curricular activities for international students in UCD are usually hosted in the Global Lounge but the new initiative of the Virtual Global Lounge, launched by the UCD Global Experience team this year, replicates it  through an online space. Events organised by Global Guides will be hosted on this platform and Student Society activities will be promoted on it.

UCD Global told The College Tribune that international student applications for the autumn trimester have been in line with expected patterns regarding country and region of origin. There have been a greater proportion of non-EU applicants than EU applicants. UCD Global has succeeded in attracting international students to the university in face of the coronavirus pandemic, but they are still not certain that these students will be able or willing to travel to Ireland to study in September. It will only become clear whether these students will actually come to Ireland later in the summer.

Brigid Molloy – Reporter