Ever since the TUHH Hamburg University of Technology helped with the Refugee Initial Reception Centre in Schwarzenberg, the university has tried to do everything possible to integrate refugees. Now they have taken this goal to the next level with their 'From Camp to Campus' effort.
Courses and social initiatives
The TUHH has opened 19 technology classes in English for refugee students and academics, and allows refugees to use the university library free of charge. Many rooms and spaces at TUHH are used for public information events held by authorities assisting with integration and aid efforts, and every other week TUHH hosts a playgroup for refugee children.
Staff and students have also played helping roles. University staff have launched pro bono initiatives to advise refugees on their rights, whilst students have held clothing donation drives, organised children's parties, and assisted with German courses.
The German courses serve to help students reach the required level of German language proficiency to apply for admission to the university. Whilst many MA programmes require English proficiency, BA courses require a good level of German, especially for scientific and engineering courses. Applications for a spot at TUHH can be completed online from mid-May until July 15th.
'Language buddies' and cultural events
Many TUHH professors, staff and students volunteer their time to help integrate refugees. Volunteers host a wide range of social activities, such as concerts and art exhibitions in order to open up German culture to refugees, which could in turn help them access education and employment.
TUHH runs German language courses, and many students also work as 'language buddies', regularly meeting up to chat and help refugees stretch their language skills.
TUHH has also enlisted the help of their international students from the Middle East, and created the role of 'integration scouts'. These students can help relay their experiences of coming to Hamburg and adapting to German culture. Students regularly offer their knowledge on campus, currently in Arabic, and soon in Farsi, Pashto and Kumanci.
Some of these students also accompany refugees when they go to the relevant Hamburg authorities, helping them with the long wait for appointments and overcoming the language barrier.
Refugees are also welcome to attend cultural events held by TUHH, such as guided tours of the exhibitions in the foyer, music concerts and sporting events, which are held in collaboration with local sports teams and open to everyone.