Publication date: 06/11/15
The University of Strasbourg has introduced a range of initiatives aimed at helping refugee students pursuing their education. The University Foundation is launching a call for donations to support these actions.
Like any student on the first day of class, they have written their names on folded pieces of paper. Unlike any other student, they have fled the war in Syrian and Iraq, thousands of kilometers away from this classroom. On Monday 2 November, over 20 refugee students attended their first French class at the International Institute for French Studies (IIEF) within the framework of an intensive language programme (17 hours a week). The implementation of this specific course falls in with the letter sent by Alain Beretz to Mayor of Strasbourg Roland Ries in September. This letter expressed the president’s will to join forces with the City of Strasbourg to reach out and help refugees fleeing conflict in the Middle-East. The Board of Directors then voted in favour of tuition fees exemption for refugees wishing to pursue higher education. “ We received the first applications after we published a press release in French, English and Arabic”, IIEF director Liliane Koecher explains. “Everything went on very fast during the half-term holidays", adds IIEF administrative manager Nadia Tettamanti. Along with Nadia Kardouz, she is in charge of the reception desk handling the applications. A first group of 25 students was formed within only five days. Liliane Koecher points out that the institute will only “constitute other groups once we make sure that we can offer the best studying conditions to these students”. Opening a new course would cost the IIEF €13,000 since it would imply hiring another French as a foreign language teacher.