Student Refugee’s Story
In 2015, a group of students at Roskilde decided to support students with refugee background. When organizing presentations and events to raise awareness for refugee issues in Denmark, it became clear that refugees face many problems when aiming to access higher education programmes.
At about the same time, Studenterhuset in Copenhagen was coordinating the International Mentor Programme at the University of Copenhagen. Through this work, we realized that almost all international students were offered a Danish mentor when arriving at UCPH, but that English-speaking refugees were not, since they were considered Danish students.
Studenterhuset were at this point happy to be approached by Tuborgfondet, which offered to support a series of initiatives involving students in the UN Global Goals. A buddy programme for refugees was first on Studenterhuset´s wishlist and became the first of three projects in cooperation with Tuborgfondet.
With grant application support from Danske Studerendes Fællesråd & The European Student Union´s Together Moving Forward fund, RUC support Refugees and Student Refugees merged as a project under Studenterhuset. Student Refugees now had a scope of not only University of Copenhagen or Roskilde University, but all further education in the Greater Copenhagen Area.
The first step was to create the website www.studentrefugees.dk; collecting the relevant information for students with refugee background, that has until then been hard to find. With the website ready for launch in August 2017, a new and large group of volunteers were introduced, and Application Cafés were started.
In the summer of 2018, we implemented the original idea of a Buddies- Programme, pairing students studying at Danish higher education with students with refugee background, to support them at the beginning of their studies. In the first year, the prgramme had more than 60 Buddies, and it is now carrying on with new Buddy-pairs.
Student Refugees would like to thank our partners Tuborgfondet and University of Copenhagen as well as Danske Studerendes Fællesråd.
We would also especially like to acknowledge the work and dedication of RUC support Refugees co-founders Alba Ortega and Anisha Schwille, who took part in developing and implementing the Application Café, the content of the website and the first volunteer training. Without them Student Refugees would not be the initiative, we are today.