Second-year European Studies students were informed this morning that the upcoming academic year typically spent on Erasmus would now count for 30% of their final degree.
In an email from Senior Executive Officer of the Centre for European Studies Susan Migunda-Greene sent at 11 am, students were told that next year will be “the first year that the JS year will count”.
Until now, in line with other Irish universities, the year spent on Erasmus was intended primarily to be an immersive cultural experience for students, and grades amassed at host schools would not impact students’ final grades.
A second-year French-Irish student, Alix Philouze, expressed her resentment with the situation.
“I was going to go to Spain and I was going to perfect my Spanish because, especially with second year online, it’s been complicated to improve. So I was going to go there, study in Spanish but not worry about my grades; just have to worry about passing”.
“Then I was going to be able to come back to Trinity in fourth year with a good enough level of Spanish to get good grades to impact my bachelor’s degree,” she continued.
Now, Philouze must decide whether to go to Spain as she had hoped or whether the fact that she just started learning Spanish two years ago should impact her choice of Erasmus.
“There’s a high chance that I won’t get good grades because I will be evaluated through Spanish, and there’s no way I’m going to bring my Spanish up to scratch enough to write perfect essays or sit Spanish exams perfectly,” she said.
If she returns to her home country of France next year, Philouze says that knows that she’ll get higher grades, but she resents that she’ll be missing out on the Erasmus experience.
Migunda-Greene acknowledged that the sudden change in grading scheme might impact students’ Erasmus decisions, and the initial email said that “should this information affect your Major Language choice, you have until 11 am tomorrow” to make a choice on that issue.
After the initial email prompted uproar in European Studies group chats and students discussed sending petitions to Trinity, however, the Senior Sophister class received a follow-up.
In this second email, Director of the Centre for European Studies Jac Hayden announced that she had pushed forward the Major Language nomination form deadline to January 4 and the year-abroad destination choice deadline to January 25.
She urged students to “discuss both choices with the relevant coordinators and carefully consider what’s in your best interest”.
Regardless of the updated submission deadline, Philouze called the situation “scandalous”.
“Why didn’t they just set it up for the incoming first years? When we signed up for European Studies, this course, the handbook stated that we would only be affected by fourth-year grades”.
Despite the extended deadline for students to consider Erasmus destinations, the change in grading still stands.