it is now almost two months since IAESTE started to feel the first consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this period, all of you have shown tremendous motivation, to keep control of the situation as much as possible and maintain the IAESTE spirit - something for which I would like to thank you for but also would like to encourage you to keep this motivation and spirit!
Looking into global development, a silver lining is already visible to the dark clouds in some regions, while for some other countries the peak of the pandemic is not yet reached. It is still hard to predict how things will develop globally, but the Board will try to re-evaluate the situation during the next meeting and provide further recommendations and advice.
Beside all these developments, the IAESTE community did not stand still and was thinking of ways on how to launch a pilot project on remote internships - not only to use the momentum of everyone working from home but also to evaluate this concept and present it to the next General Conference for further discussion and development. This is, of course, meant as an additional product IAESTE can offer, but not as a replacement of the classic internship experience we have offered for more than 70 years.
I have a strong belief, that during the coming months, IAESTE will gain relevance much more than in the past, because there is no doubt, that travel restrictions will make it harder to go on touristic travels, but for work and educational travel, some countries already have a good model for exceptions and I’m convinced that exchange programmes related to work experience will also benefit from exceptions in the future, earlier than regular tourism.
Stay safe and healthy.