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Fall 2021: COVID-19 Pandemic Q&A

If I apply, when will I know whether the Fall 2021 semester can take place?

Our standard application deadline is April 1. By May 1 at the latest, a decision will be made by the program whether the Fall 2021 semester can take place as planned.

If the Fall 2021 semester is cancelled before its start, due to the pandemic, will I be reimbursed any fees already paid?

If such a cancellation is announced before the start of the semester, any fees already paid will be fully reimbursed.

Will I be reimbursed my fees if German/EU borders are closed to international travel?

If a renewed lockdown or other pandemic-related developments before the official starting-date of the semester cause a closure of German/EU borders, thereby preventing participants from travelling to Berlin, any fees already paid will be fully reimbursed.

Will I be reimbursed any fees if the program has to be cancelled during the semester?

If pandemic conditions cause a termination of the ongoing semester, instruction will shift online. Students who opt to return home at that point in order to continue their FU-BEST studies from abroad/overseas will be eligible for a refund of unused program accommodation fees, if these are still recoverable at that point in time.

How will the pandemic impact my travel to and arrival in Berlin and check-in into the program?

Please check appropriate sources regarding international travel, vaccination, and quarantine regulations at your country of arrival regularly. Up-to-date information is available at the following websites: 

In the course of 2021, anti-corona vaccination campaigns will get underway around the world. It is as yet unclear to what extent evidence of vaccination will turn into a prerequisite for international travel. We anticipate that testing upon arrival will remain a widespread phenomenon. At the time of actual arrival, whether by means of an overseas flight or via a land-route from another country, a mandatory Corona-test may be required at the European and/or German border before one is allowed to enter. If public authorities in Berlin require you to be tested for the virus upon arrival, this will either already take place at the airport or train station or you will be given instructions for a test to be conducted as quickly as possible elsewhere. Mandatory, short-term quarantine policy may also be evolving and applicable. Should such a mandatory, short-term quarantine be required of you, the program will render assistance where possible. All participants, regardless of their housing choice, are expected to come to campus on August 24 for the official check-in into the program. Check-in details will be sent out before your departure for Berlin. Check-in on campus will occur in accordance with our basic hygiene policies. If mandatory quarantine prevents a participant from coming to campus for the official check-in on August 24, alternative check-in arrangements will be made and carried out. If you are required to quarantine, this will be carried out at your chosen accommodation. In case that is not possible, the program will assist in setting up alternative quarantine arrangements. For students in quarantine, orientation sessions will be available online. Students in quarantine in a homestay will receive breakfast and dinner as part of their fees (lunch expenses are not included), those in other housing options are responsible for their own food expenses.

How will the pandemic impact my accommodation in Berlin?

Students residing at the Student Village or Student Hotel will be subject to the pandemic- and hygiene-related policies and regulations in force at these locations, as communicated before and/or upon arrival. See the following websites: https://www.studentendorf.berlin/news/measures-against-corona-virus-covid-19-2/ (Student Village) and https://www.thestudenthotel.com/de/coronavirus/ (Student Hotel). Homestays feature policies and regulations developed jointly by the homestay hosts and the program in accordance with official hygiene and public health requirements; these will also be communicated before and/or upon arrival.

What is the program’s quarantine policy?

If a participant needs to be placed in quarantine upon arrival or after the semester gets underway, appropriate arrangements will be made, in accordance with the specific location where the student is living (homestay, Student Village or Student Hotel). Students housed independently would be required to make their own arrangements in this case, with assistance and advice provided by the program where possible. Note the information regarding food expenses under nr. 2 above. The program will ensure that all students in quarantine situations shall be able to continue and complete their academic work.

What do I need to know, and where can I find up-to-date information?

Pandemic-related policies and regulations in Berlin currently in effect include: social distancing rules, wearing masks in public places (shops, public transportation, museums, etc.), personal hygiene, registration of personal data at restaurants, places of worship, etc. in order to facilitate contact-tracing, and so forth. Here are useful websites for up-to-date information: https://www.berlin.de/en/. Full information regarding official regulations can be found here: https://www.berlin.de/corona/en/measures/directive/ and https://www.berlin.de/corona/en/measures/.

Corona-test information for Berlin is available here: https://www.berlin.de/corona/en/testing-facilities/. Should a vaccination option become available in Berlin during the semester, we will share the appropriate information with participants. For current Berlin information on this issue, you can look at https://www.berlin.de/corona/en/vaccination/

Please note that the pandemic causes restrictions with respect to events and activities involving larger groups of people, such as sports games, concerts, club life, etc. Access to various cultural activities and events is curtailed, restricted, regulated via online tickets only, etc.

The program expects all staff and participants to act responsibly and in accordance with clearly announced regulations and policies with respect to the pandemic, both on- and off-campus.

What pandemic-related arrangements have been made on campus?

Based on Berlin authorities’ and university regulations, we have put in place policies and arrangements to ensure proper hygiene safeguards regarding instruction and other activities in our campus facilities. One of our key informational documents can be found here: https://www.fu-berlin.de/en/sites/fubest/doku/COVID-19-Info-FU-BEST.pdf

Will the campus cafeteria be open and available?

It will be clearer closer to the start of the semester whether the campus food service (Mensa) – not included in any of the FU-BEST fees – is regularly open or not. If not, participants will be given advice on how to make alternative arrangements for their lunch meal.

How will the program be adjusted for me if pandemic-related developments (such as quarantine) prevent me from attending class?

Should this scenario materialize, the program will ensure that the affected participant can continue his/her coursework and studies in order to complete the full semester, including the use of online resources. The program is under no obligation, however, to provide either a laptop or PC or to arrange internet access (the latter is particularly important for students opting to set up their own accommodation).

How will the program be adjusted in case of a renewed lockdown?

If pandemic-related developments, such as a renewed lockdown, impact the program in its entirety, arrangements will be made for all students to complete the semester via online instruction. The program will make every effort to enable participants to remain in Berlin and complete the semester successfully on-site, most likely via online instruction (but note the answer to the previous question here as well). If the situation necessitates students’ departure from Berlin in order to return home, FU-BEST will render logistical and organizational assistance.

How is the pandemic expected to affect the full-week excursion and the local field-trips?

The program will endeavor to carry out the excursions as planned, but for the time being these will be focused on destinations inside Germany. Travel will take place by bus and/or train, subject to all pandemic-related measures that the companies running these busses or trains have put in place. Lodging at the excursion locations will also be adjusted and managed, both by FU-BEST and by the lodging facilities themselves, in accordance with pandemic-related requirements. The program and its participants will be required to observe whatever regulations are in place at these various sites. As for local, inside-Berlin field-trips, these will be conducted in accordance with any regulations put in place by local authorities and by these specific sites (museums, memorial sites, government institutions, etc.) themselves.

What services will be available?

Beyond the broadly based, non-pandemic-related regular medical services available to participants, the program will provide referrals to students in need of specific, pandemic-related services, such as vaccination, testing or quarantine-related matters. For situations involving the pandemic, the primary referral will be to the local public health offices (Gesundheitsämter), which serve as central coordinating service points.

Will I be covered by insurance?

Each participant is enrolled in German medical insurance (https://www.fu-berlin.de/en/sites/fubest/health-and-safety/insurance/index.html) as part of the program. However, medical conditions that already existed before the start of the program are not covered by the insurance issued through the program. This also means that costs related to a Corona-infection diagnosed within the first two weeks of one’s stay in Berlin will not be covered by the program’s insurance (due to the incubation period associated with the virus). All participants are urged to retain medical insurance coverage back home during their time in Berlin as well.