This text has been updated
“In response to the email we sent to the students last week, 28 replied that they felt safe in their situation as it was, and they decided to wait before travelling. They wanted to see how they could continue their studies in Hong Kong”, says Karin Gibson, head of the International Office at Linköping University.
The situation changed as Monday progressed, and by Tuesday morning, 23 of the LiU students had chosen to leave Hong Kong.
Students are trapped on the campus
LiU has partnership agreements with seven universities in Hong Kong, one of which is the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, which has been occupied by students for several days. The student organisations have stated that nearly 700 students are trapped on the campus, which is under siege by riot police.
Ten of the 38 LiU exchange students are studying at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, but it is unclear at the moment whether any of them are inside the occupied area.
“Our partner universities are trying to solve the situation, using, for example, on-line teaching”, says Karin Gibson.
The partner universities have also helped to arrange new accommodation for students in areas of particularly intense unrest. Some have been offered hotel accommodation.
Many exchange students have sent email enquiries to LIU about what will happen if they are prevented from completing their courses.
“The solutions we use will be adapted to each individual, and we can’t make a decision until they are back in Sweden”, says Karin Gibson.
Help with covering the costs
”Students who choose to return before the planned date of departure will initially have to pay for the flight from their own pocket. Anyone who cannot afford the cost should contact Falck Global Assistance”, says Karin Gibson.
“The costs will subsequently be covered by the insurance that has been taken out for exchange students. We will collect their claims for compensation and submit them to the Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency, so that the students are reimbursed.”
The Swedish consulate general in Hong Kong invited the students to a meeting on Friday, to provide them with information. The consulate also offers round-the-clock service in which it answers any questions from Swedish citizens in Hong Kong.
Translated by George Farrants