Refugees From Camp to Campus

The Technische Universität Hamburg Harburg’s ‘Camp to Campus’ initiative wants to help refugees integrate into society and get back into education.

From Camp to Campus

Ever since the TUHH Hamburg University of Technology helped with the Refugee Initial Reception Centre in Schwarzenberg, the university has tried to do as much as it could to integrate refugees.

Courses and social initiatives

One of the main activities by the TUHH is opening up 19 technology classes in English for refugee students and academics, and allowing refugees to use the university library free of charge. TUHH also provides practical support to refugees by allowing use of their rooms and spaces; every other week a playgroup for refugee children is held at the TUHH, and many of the rooms in the university are used for public information events held by the authorities.

Staff and students have also played their role in helping. Pro Bono initiatives have been launched by staff to advise refugees on their rights, whilst students have held clothing donations, organised children's parties and assisted with German courses.

The German courses serve to help students reach the required level of language to apply for a place to study at the university. Whilst many master's programmes require English proficiency, bachelor's courses require a good level of German, especially for scientific and engineering courses. Applications for a study place at TUHH can be done online from mid-May until July 15th.

'Language buddies' and cultural events

Many TUHH professors, staff and students are also giving their time voluntarily to help integrate refugees. Volunteers also 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' ─ meetings to chat and help refugees consolidate 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 Germany, and adapting to a new, alien 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 the cultural events that are held by TUHH. Events such as guided tours of the exhibitions in the foyer, music concerts and ball sports, which are done in collaboration with local sports teams and are open to everyone.