Escape from Ukraine: Welcome to the University of Berlin – Knowledge

“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 want to work.” Olga Prib, coordinator of “Working Group Support” Ukraine is also personally involved in the Berlin School of Economics and Law (HWR) as a refugee helper and is impressed by the determination of many young people from Ukraine.

As a volunteer, Prieb says: “First, get to Berlin safely, eat and drink, rest and sleep.” Professionally, Prieb helps students get a place in the university. “They need an anchor, they want possibilities and we want to support it at HWR Berlin,” said Prieb, who otherwise works in quality management at his university.

At the end of February, HWR set up its own website and a contact email address ([email protected]) for prospective students and scientists in Ukraine. There is information for those who want to help. The summer semester begins on April 1st, when the first students should start, for example, English-language courses in economics and German intensive courses. So far, HWR has received about 75 searches from Ukrainian students and some scientists.

Participate in academic life

There are also far-reaching offers at Berlin universities and their information pages can be found mainly on the homepage. “We want to make it possible for war refugees to be taken as non-bureaucratically and individually as possible, to participate in academic life and in specialist and language courses,” said Ian Villain, Humboldt’s president of international affairs and president of 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.]

HU is getting 50 to 60 searches these days, still from Ukraine, on the way to or from Berlin. “They are very worried about missing a deadline and we explain to them that the semester will start on April 15 and what can be prepared after that,” reports Villain. The deadline for official application and enrollment has certainly passed, but those coming from Ukraine should be given the opportunity to change careers.

New Arrival at Berlin Central Station: For students from Ukraine, the search for a place at the university is the first …Photo: IMAGO / Marius Schwarz

To date, about 200 people have reported to the Technical University Student Advisory Service “those with ties to Ukraine,” said Baris Unal, head of the department, who is also a refugee official at TU. Because almost half of the refugees from the East come from third countries such as Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan or India – as international students at Ukrainian universities who are now seeking asylum in Berlin.

Citizens of third countries do not want to go home without a degree

“Ukrainians are considering how they can spend time without interrupting their studies until the end of the war. Citizens of third countries do not want to return to the country without a degree,” Unal said. The offer is open to all, initially enrolled in “In (2) TU”, a welcome and study program for refugees, which was initially launched in 2016 for Syrians.

“Take a language course, attend a lecture, collect your first credit, prepare an application for the winter semester through UniAssist – everything is possible,” said Unal. The aim is to transform it into a specialist course at a technical university or other university after one or two semesters. Or, if circumstances allow, go back to your home university.

At all the universities in Berlin it is clear that they are still at the very beginning in terms of the effects of the war in Ukraine. Is there a risk of overwhelming the thousands of newcomers hoping for a place to study in Berlin? “The wires are shining warm, but basically we have to ramp up at TU for six years,” said Baris Unal.

Thinking of a Ukrainian exile university in Berlin

At HU, Eoin Villain sees refugees as overtaking themselves: “It would be perfectly understandable if, given the proximity of war experiences and events, they were not in a position to study regularly.” Incidentally, it’s not just young women. Those who have been asking about the place of the university for so long. Although men over the age of 18 are under military service and are not officially allowed to leave the country, according to Berlin universities, many flee anyway and want to go to university. The ban on leaving the country, however, does not apply to international students.

If a medium-term out-of-home approach is needed, HU – along with European partner universities – should consider a kind of Ukrainian expatriate university where refugee scientists can conduct research and education, Villain said. They were first contacted at the universities. Until March 18, they can nominate colleagues for the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s Philipp Schwartz program, and thus for fellowship in Germany, initially for one year.

University buildings have also been destroyed by the Russian army – as here on March 2, 2022 in Kharkiv.Photo: Emergency Service of Ukraine / PA Media / DPA

At Frei University Berlin, Herbert Grisp, head of the International Department, was also able to almost double the department’s budget to accommodate guest researchers on an ad hoc basis. “That way, we can invite 60 Ukrainian colleagues or anti-Russian scientists to us this semester and for the next three months,” Grishop said.

Grants for assistance to Ukraine with Daily Mirror – it works like this:

  • Of Tagesspiegel Grants Association Wants money, we collect for ourselves Key Cooperation Partner “Alliance Development Assistance” For victims of the Ukraine war, in the affected neighboring countries and in Germany, especially in Berlin-Brandenburg.
  • The Donations Association reserves the right – as specified in the mutual agreement with the Alliance – to actively allocate a certain portion of the total funds for urgent emergency assistance to other organizations in Berlin and Brandenburg.
  • Grant Account: Recipient: fundraiser der Tagespigel EV, Purpose: “Help the people! / Ukraine”Berliner Sparkasse BIC: BELADEBE, IBAN: DE43100500000250030942
  • Please enter your name and address for grant receipts (online banking is possible). Transfer slip is sufficient for tax on the amount up to 300 euros.

This gives them time to realize their small projects or to apply for long term grants. Like other Berlin universities, the FU is in direct contact with its Ukrainian partner universities to shelter researchers and students. TU has accepted Kiev’s National Technical University of Ukraine and Lviv Polytechnic National University as associate partners of its European Enhancement Alliance network on short notice.

The Senate and universities want uniform admissions requirements

So far, only a handful of students from Ukraine have come to the universities physically. However, more questioning is expected as the semester break gradually comes to an end. The desire to help is great – and so is the effort to create uniform admission conditions. A round of talks with Berlin universities is scheduled for Monday in the Senate section of the science department.

It should waive the university’s administrative fees for students, as well as the cost of semester tickets. They want to clarify which language courses are offered by which universities and by what criteria refugees from Ukraine can be admitted directly to the courses. It is learned that a joint emergency fund is also being considered in the student union.

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

To Poland: A professor at HWR Berlin and his students in Berlin providing assistance to Ukrainian refugees.Photo: Oana Popa-Costea / HWR

However, the promise goes far beyond the organization. As refugee coordinator Olga Preb assists in her leisure time at the main train station, countless university members are active on a voluntary basis.

On Friday, an HRW professor took his fully loaded station wagon from Berlin to a depot in Sijesin, Poland, for the second time. She transports donations collected by her students – from hygiene articles to baby food. From Szczecin, relief supplies are being brought to the Ukrainian border. Other university members offer private accommodation in Berlin. So academic guests can come.

Leave a Comment