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Friday, May 27, 2022

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“They get off the train at the main station, they don’t know where to go, but they know they want to continue their studies here and of course they want to work,” Olga Prieb, coordinator of the “Ukrainian Support Working Group” at the Berlin School of Economics and Law (HWR), he is also privately involved as a refugee helper and is impressed by the determination of many young newcomers from Ukraine.

As a volunteer, Prieb says: “First of all, arrive safely in Berlin, eat and drink something, rest and sleep well.” Prieb helps students get a place at university. “They need an anchor, they want perspectives and we want to support that at the HWR in Berlin,” says Prieb, who also works in quality management at his university.

At the end of February, the HWR created its own website and contact email address ([email protected]) for prospective students and scientists from Ukraine. There is also information there for people who want to help. The summer semester starts on April 1, when the first students should start, for example, in English courses in economics and intensive German courses. So far, the HWR has received about 75 inquiries from Ukrainian students and also from some scientists.

Participate in academic life.

There are also wide-ranging offers at universities in Berlin, and their information pages can also be found prominently on the home pages. “We want to make it possible for war refugees to be welcomed in the least bureaucratic and individualized way possible, so that they can participate in academic life and in specialized and language courses,” says Yoan Vilain, Humboldt Presidential Commissioner for International Affairs and Europe. University.

[Alle aktuellen Nachrichten zum russischen Angriff auf die Ukraine bekommen Sie mit der Tagesspiegel-App live auf ihr Handy. Hier für Apple- und Android-Geräte herunterladen.]

The HU is receiving between 50 and 60 inquiries a day these days, even from Ukraine, on the way to Berlin or immediately after arrival. “They are very concerned about missing a deadline and we explain to them that the semester starts on April 15 and what can be prepared for then,” reports Vilain. The official application and registration deadline has passed, of course, but those who come from Ukraine should have the opportunity to make a career change.

New arrivals at the central station in Berlin: For students from Ukraine, the search for a place at the university is one of the first…Photo: IMAGO/Marius Schwarz

So far, around 200 people have come forward to the Technical University’s student counseling service “who have a connection to Ukraine,” says department head Baris Ünal, who is also the TU’s refugee officer. Because about half of the refugees from the east come from third countries like Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan or India, as international students at Ukrainian universities now seeking refuge in Berlin.

Third-country nationals don’t want to go home without a title

“Ukrainians are considering how they can save time until the end of the war without interrupting their studies, third-country citizens don’t want to go home without a degree,” says Ünal. The offer for everyone is mainly to enroll in “In(2)TU”, the reception and study program for refugees, which was launched in 2016 mainly for Syrians.

“Take a language course, attend conferences, accumulate your first credits, prepare an application for the winter semester through UniAssist – anything is possible,” says Ünal. The goal is to transition to a specialization course at the Technical University or another university after one or two semesters. Or, if the situation allows it, return to your home university.

It is clear from all the universities in Berlin that they are still at the beginning when it comes to the effects of the war in Ukraine. Is there a risk that thousands of newcomers looking for a place to study in Berlin will be overwhelmed? “The cables are red hot, but basically we have to increase in the TU what has been there for six years,” says Baris Ünal.

Thinking of a university of Ukrainian exiles in Berlin

Yoan Vilain, from the HU, considers that the refugees demand too much: “It would be absolutely understandable that, given the experiences of the war and the proximity of the events, they are not in a position to study regularly.” who have been inquiring about university places so far. Although men over the age of 18 are subject to military service and are officially not allowed to leave the country, many flee anyway and want to go to university, according to Berlin universities. However, the ban on leaving the country does not apply to international students.

In case a medium-term perspective beyond home is needed, the HU, together with partner European universities, should think about a kind of Ukrainian university in exile where refugee scientists can research and teach, says Vilain. The first contacts are made with them in the universities. Until March 18, they could nominate colleagues for the Philipp Schwarz program of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and thus for fellowships in Germany, initially for one year.

At Freie Universität Berlin, Herbert Grieshop, Head of the International Department, was also able to nearly double the departments’ budgets for visiting researcher stays on an ad hoc basis. “In this way, we can invite up to 60 colleagues from Ukraine or opposition scientists from Russia for up to three months this semester and next,” says Grieshop.

Donations for Ukraine help with the daily mirror – this is how it works:

  • the Tagesspiegel Donation Association ask for money, we charge for ours Main cooperation partner “Alliance Development Helps” for the victims of the war in Ukraine, in the affected neighboring countries and in Germany, especially Berlin-Brandenburg.
  • The donation association reserves the right – this has been clarified with the mutually agreed alliance – to proactively allocate a certain part of the total sum for acute emergency aid to other organizations in Berlin and Brandenburg.
  • Donation Account: Recipient: Fundraiser Der Tagesspiegel eV, Purpose: “Helping people!/Ukraine”Berliner Sparkasse BIC: BELADEBE, IBAN: DE43100500000250030942
  • Write your name and address for the donation receipt (online banking possible). The transfer receipt is sufficient for the tax for amounts up to 300 euros.

This gives them time to complete small projects or apply for long-term grants. Like the other universities in Berlin, the FU is also in direct contact with its Ukrainian partner universities to offer shelter to researchers and students. The TU accepted the National Technical University of Ukraine in kyiv and the National Polytechnic University of Lviv as associate partners in its European ENHANCE Alliance network at short notice.

Senate and universities want uniform admission requirements

Until now, only a few students from Ukraine have physically reached the universities. But as the semester break is coming to an end, more and more inquiries are expected. The willingness to help is great, as is the effort to create uniform admission conditions. A round with the universities of Berlin is planned for Monday in the Science Department of the Senate.

An attempt should be made to exempt students from university administration fees, as well as semester subscription costs. They also want to clarify which university offers which language courses and according to what criteria refugees from Ukraine can be directly admitted to the courses. There are said to be considerations for a joint emergency relief fund in the student union as well.

The German Academic Exchange Service and the German Rectors’ Conference have repeatedly called on the federal government to establish a state emergency aid program for new refugees at universities.

However, the commitment goes far beyond institutions. Just as refugee coordinator Olga Prieb helps out in her spare time at the main train station, countless university members are active on a voluntary basis.

For the second time, an HRW teacher drives a van carrying donations collected by his students, from hygiene items to baby food, from Berlin to a depot in Szczecin, Poland, from where the relief supplies will be transported. Others offer private accommodation in Berlin. So that the academic guests can come.


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