COVID-19 / Academic life at Natolin

April and May 2020

Ever since the first reports on the risks of the COVID-19 pandemic appeared, the College of Europe in Natolin quickly reacted so to be able to continue delivering the European Interdisciplinary Studies programme for all Natolin students of the Hannah Arendt Promotion. Digital tools have allowed us to shift to an all-remote, but still participatory, format.


"Respecting the principles of physical distancing is crucial for us at Natolin these days. We have worked tirelessly for our students and professors to enable them to carry out the academic programme online, in a seamless way."

– Tomáš TATINEC, Head of the Academic Administration at Natolin

After conducting first tests already on 4 March 2020, the implementation of the EIS programme via digital means was already underway a week later. Since then, almost 400 hours of teaching took place online supported by the ICT Service and supervised by the Academic Assistants, ensuring that the learning environment remains natural, even in the case of simulation games that include frequent changes of group compositions.

All course assignments continued to be submitted by students, bar a short transition period, according to the originally agreed calendar to maintain the programme’s stability. For the major piece of academic work – the Master’s thesis – the official deadline was extended and the final document was set to be provided in its electronic version only by 18 May. 

All students could connect individually to each class session from the campus or from their homes and interact with their professors working from their universities and other organizations all around Europe and beyond.

"We were very impressed by how quickly the students adapted to the new format of course sessions. All courses continue to be well attended digitally, whilst their moderation by the team of EIS Academic Assistants facilitates active discussion between professors and students." – Paweł PUJSZO, Coordinator of Operations in the EIS Department


In the first week of April, Natolin students were supposed to take part in the second semester study trips focusing on the following main themes:

  • Transforming Societies: Managing digital and climate transitions in Europe and beyond; 

  • Hybrid security challenges in the Wider Baltic Region; 

  • Jordan’s domestic and regional challenges after the Arab Spring;

  • Dealing with the past, consolidating democracy and the EU membership perspective in the Western Balkans.

The academic programmes of the study trips were maintained and transformed into about 50 online special lectures, panels, and other digital encounters featuring speakers connected from several countries, such as France, Belgium and Luxembourg; Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Finland; Jordan; as well as Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia & Herzegovina. 

It is our conviction that the online academic programmes of the study trips adhere to the long tradition of Natolin’s teaching excellence and we are grateful to our esteemed speakers for agreeing to participate in this new format of our meetings. Learn more about our virtual study trips here

All exams took place according to a slightly adapted schedule in a new remote format. All of this ensured that the academic year was completed by the end of June 2020 as foreseen.