Students Offer Assistance to Refugees

mbl.is/Eggert Jóhannesson

Vala Hafstað

Today, a new project will be launched for refugees in Iceland interested in applying for university admission, mbl.is reports. The project will be presented at a so-called Application Café, where students assist those who are interested and offer them individual consultation.

Jóhanna Ásgeirsdóttir, the international representative of the National Union of Icelandic Students, describes Student Refugees Iceland as a student-run initiative, aimed at increasing the access of asylum seekers and refugees in Iceland to University education.

The project evolved out of cooperation with the union’s Danish counterpart, Danske Studerendes Fællesråd, where a similar project has been in place since 2015. The Danish project involves providing each refugee or asylum seeking student with a buddy, who is there for support when needed.

The Icelandic program received financial support from the European Student Union. “The grant allowed us to create a website on the Icelandic education system and admission requirements,” Jóhanna states.

Volunteers for Student Refugees Iceland.

Volunteers for Student Refugees Iceland. Photo/Contributed

The Icelandic Upper Secondary Student Union is looking at implementing a similar program at the upper secondary level.

A recent report published by the Red Cross reveals that the Icelandic education system lacks options for students with a refugee background, enabling them to complete studies of interest to them. Of 82 refugees polled, only 5 percent were enrolled in studies and 43 percent had trouble being admitted. Among the hindrances faced are a lack of language instruction, limited access to information, and financial difficulties.

The Application Café will be offered at Norræna húsið (the Nordic House), from 4-6 pm today. This is the first of many open house events planned. The aim is to offer them once or twice a month. You can visit the Facebook page of Student Refugees Iceland here .

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