Conflicts – Hamburg – Refugee students drawn to Hamburg – Politics

Hamburg (dpa/lno) – Russia’s aggressive war in Ukraine has forced students from other countries to flee there. Many came to Germany, 450 according to the internal authorities so far to Hamburg alone. Unlike students with Ukrainian citizenship, those from other countries do not have a general residence permit in Germany, provided that their countries of origin are considered safe.

In the Hanseatic city, the interior authorities and science agreed to give them the opportunity to continue their studies here. In addition, the red-green Senate is working at the federal level to ensure that students from third countries who have fled Ukraine are also granted a nationwide residence permit, the science body said at the request of the German news agency.

According to the authority, “students from Ukraine who do not have Ukrainian citizenship can initially obtain a dummy certificate in Hamburg for a period of six months.” “They are entitled to social benefits and can work.” During the six months, they will have time to fulfill the requirements to continue their studies. This included, in particular, securing their livelihood and proving a place at the university. “Once these requirements are met, you can apply for a residence permit for study purposes.”

According to the authority of the Interior, such bogus certificates were issued by the Migration Office by the end of the week to 450 students without Ukrainian citizenship who fled Ukraine from 30 different countries.

In any case, the refugees arrived much later than the current summer semester, for which the deadline for applications was January 15 – the Russian offensive began on February 24. The application period for the winter semester 2022/23 ends in mid-July.

The University of Hamburg (UHH) offers so-called specialist classes where international students can find their way first and receive support, for example through recognition of degrees or language acquisition. “You have the opportunity to get a taste of the faculties, to attend lectures as guests, but also to establish contact with students or use sports,” said Jana Hess of the coordination center #UHHhilft at the German news agency (dpa). “Of course, this is all meant to run an app and, ideally, to find your way into the regular course of study.”

There have already been 614 enrollments for the program in the current summer semester. “Of these, 200 were related to Ukraine. Of these, 75 were Ukrainian citizens and 125 were international students from Ukraine with other countries.” Mostly these are African countries. “A lot of people come from Ghana, Nigeria is well represented, as well as Sudan. Some of them come from Morocco, Libya and Congo – they are relatively widespread.”

Hess doubts whether course participants will be able to prove that they meet the requirements to continue their studies in the winter semester. “On the other hand, it’s because the certificates still have to be evaluated – if they are available. Because many people couldn’t bring the certificates with them.” In such a situation, there is an opportunity in the university “to justify the reasonableness of your educational CV through a multi-stage process and, accordingly, if necessary, to find a path to the university”.

Another problem is the German language. Bachelor’s courses are only offered in German in Hamburg, and only a few Master’s courses are in English. “In order to start earning a bachelor’s degree, you must demonstrate C1 language skills in German,” Hess said. “It’s very difficult. Reaching this C1 level will take at least a year, I say.”

In addition, the majority of international students who fled studied medicine in Ukraine. Entry barriers are high in this country and the number of places for international students in Hamburg is limited. “We’re moving in the under-20 range here.” So some refugees have tried to get a university place in other EU countries. Others have considered switching to medical-related courses or also to apprenticeships in the health sector.

Unlike other international students who can prepare to study abroad in their home country, refugees face “much more initial problems,” Hess says. “It’s about questions like accommodations and care. Plus, escaping can be painful.” Against this background, she sees a gap between ambition and reality: “It is difficult to expect to meet the basic requirements to start the course within six months.”

The possibility of staying here safely for at least half a year in order to prepare to start a course of study means that international students from Ukraine are very interested in coming to Hamburg, Hess says. “We receive a lot of inquiries from people who are not yet in Hamburg.”

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 220605-99-552836 / 2

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