Shih-Hsuan Lin (25) from Taiwan was almost finished with his Master’s degree. Due to the corona crisis he can’t start his internship.
In March, Shih-Hsuan Lin completed his thesis in Biobased Sciences. ‘The only thing left was to do my internship. I was planning to start my internship in April. Still, in this situation, it is impossible actually to get one and start with it. I have contacts with a research facility in Belgium, and I was pretty sure I could start there. But thanks to the corona crisis, they won’t accept any internships for now.’
Lin knows that there are alternatives. ‘I could try to find an internship that you can do from home, for which you only have to do literature reviews and stuff. Personally, I don’t want that. That is not an internship to me; I want to have the full experience and do the work in the lab.’
For now, Lin is staying in Taiwan. ‘I flew back on Thursday, 26 March. I planned to go back earlier on 15 March, but that flight was cancelled, like almost seventy per cent of KLM’s flights at that time. When the corona measures were prolonged until 1 August, I decided to figure out a way to return to Taiwan again. A Taiwanese airline picked us up on the 26th. Taiwan is barring the entry of foreigners at the moment, so the plane was quite empty. Currently, I am staying with another Taiwanese WUR-student in quarantine. We’re at her parents' place; they are staying elsewhere.’
The delays due to the corona crisis are costly, Lin says. ‘The tuition fee for non-EU students is 18.000 euros per year. Every month of delay costs me 1.500 euros in tuition fees. And I also have my rent, because when I come back to do my internship, I need a place to stay. All in all, the delay is costly.’
The university offered Lin and other students with this problem, the option of temporarily pausing their study and getting re-enrolled at any time. ‘The problem is, if you de-register, your visa is cancelled immediately. In other words: you can pause your study, but then it is not certain that you can start it again later, because of visa issues. So now I am still enrolled at WUR because I want to be able to go back to the Netherlands and complete my study.’
Some of Lin’s Taiwanese friends who would start their internships in April and May are dealing with the same problem. ‘The start of those internships is postponed indefinitely. They are also back in Taiwan. All we can do is wait.’
‘I know that WUR is looking into possibilities to provide financial support for those who cannot graduate on time. At the same time, they cannot make any promises. So it’s quite uncertain for us. I am trying to come up with solutions as well, but for now, I haven’t found any.’