How Franklin answers the questions that educators should be asking about overseas programs.
See our helpful links and webinar information for incoming Fall 2020 students at the end of this article.
In May 2020, Inside Higher Ed released an opinion piece about considerations for educators as they plan on restoring international programs. In addition to considering the direct risks to health and safety posed by a lingering global pandemic, the authors also note that indirect risks stemming from the economic, social, and political stress on overseas locations with varying responses to the pandemic should not be ignored. The article finishes by posing questions for decision-makers about these risk factors.
At Franklin University Switzerland, we have taken the opportunity to answer these questions in order to demonstrate our safety and readiness to be an overseas higher education destination this Fall.
Are the societal structures and medical resources sufficiently capable of safely supporting travelers, even in the event of an unforeseen disaster or crisis?
Yes. Franklin University Switzerland is located in the southernmost region of Switzerland, in the canton of Ticino. It shares a wide and open border with Italy and is in many ways geographically distinct from the other regions of Switzerland being on the southern face of the Alps. Despite the proximity to Italy, the authorities in Switzerland and in Canton Ticino have adequately controlled the spread of Covid-19 through extensive contact tracing and strict restrictions, which the populace generally embraced. Since late March and early April, the number of daily new cases has been decreasing and since mid-June has remained very low.
Will there be renewed civil disorder in some destinations in the throes of a disturbed economy?
No. On top of a robust economy centered around Switzerland’s key position in the financial sector, the Swiss public enjoy free movement in among the Schengen Zone and have an education system that encourages participation in the work force at a variety of levels (apprenticeships, technical schools, universities) as well as flexibility in program choice for young adults.
Will some places see increased crime rates as economic malaise deepens social desperation?
No. Not being able to predict crime rates, the question infers a link between economic insecurity and crime. With this in mind, we see that during the same period from January 2020 to May 2020 unemployment in Switzerland has risen from 2.6% to 3.4%, whereas in the United States of America the same figure rose from 3.6% to 14.4% (in April 2020) before dropping to 13.3%. Meanwhile the youth unemployment rate in Switzerland in May 2020 was 3.4% (1.9% May 2019) compared to 25.2% (8.5% May 2019) in the United States of America, suggesting that young people in Switzerland have been more successful in finding/remaining employed compared to the United States of America where youth unemployment has nearly tripled compared to this time last year.
Will internal adversaries, rival militias and terrorist groups see opportunity in the pandemic’s impact and intensify violent actions in locales where they previously were less active? Will students meet resentment or even antagonism and harassment as part of a general distrust for outsiders in the wake of what is seen as an imported disease in many parts of the world?
No. Canton Ticino, Switzerland is an unlikely target for “internal adversaries, rival militias, or terrorist groups” which are not frequent across the board for Switzerland.
While Switzerland did take swift action in shutting international land borders to stem the early wave of virus transmission, many of such restrictions have been relaxed. Those who meet entry requirements (close ties, residency, citizenship, student visas or permits) may enter, even from third countries (such as the United States) and commercial flights are in operation. Varying attitudes towards immigration aside, Switzerland is a very dynamic population in which 38% of the population has a migration background (foreign nationals with permanent residence, naturalized Swiss citizens, first-generation Swiss citizens).
Incoming FALL 2020 students:
Please check the Hybrid Learning Model: Fall 2020 Update for information on the fall schedule, Academic Travel changes, safety precautions, and more.
Admissions COVID-19 FAQ Our Admissions team is ready to guide and support you through this important time in your life as you prepare to move to Lugano to begin your studies.
Webinar – Monday, July 20 at 8 p.m., CEST
Students and their parents are invited to join us for an informative webinar. Dean Sara Steinert Borella, our Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs, will be joined by Dean Deborah Knaust of Student Life and Engagement. In addition, four wonderful student interns have been hard at work on various aspects of our fall plans, ranging from hybrid learning to dining services, from risk management to orientation. All six will be available to speak with you.
If you or your parents have specific questions that you would like answered, please submit your questions in advance to: https://tinyurl.com/fall2020webinar