Together with the association "Hilfe für ausländische Studierende in Leipzig e. V.", at the end of April the rectors of Leipzig’s four public HE institutions launched a fundraising campaign for international students in need, known as SIS for short. SIS has raised some 49,000 euros so far, with 80 students already receiving financial support. On Tuesday (18 August), Rector Beate Schücking and Leipzig’s Mayor Burkhard Jung met one of the recipients of the funding, Russian student Pavel Raus, at Leipzig University’s Botanical Garden to discuss the successful campaign.
“I am very grateful for the great support and the great response to this project,” said Rector Schücking. Adding that every donation helps, she called for further support for international students. Young students from abroad have been particularly hard hit by the coronavirus crisis, including because they do not receive BAföG and are often dependent on part-time jobs - many of which have simply disappeared. One of those students is Pavel Raus. The 25-year-old, who is studying for a master’s in European Studies at Leipzig University, has already benefited from the SIS fund. He has lived in Leipzig since 2012. “We don’t receive BAföG like German students and are dependent on ourselves. My friends have lost their jobs. So we truly appreciate this temporary financial aid,” he said.
Mayor Jung supports SIS, as does Saxony’s Minister of Science Sebastian Gemkow, who is patron of the initiative. In Jung’s view, Leipzig is a cosmopolitan city partly because of its international students. Helping them through this campaign sends out “a great signal”. Schücking launched the appeal for donations on 29 April together with her fellow rectors from Leipzig University of Applied Sciences (HTWK), the University of Music and Theatre (HMT) and the Academy of Fine Arts (HGB). Around 5000 international students are currently enrolled at Leipzig’s HE institutions, more than 3500 of them at our university alone. For some of them, the consequences of the coronavirus crisis risk becoming an insurmountable hurdle to continuing their studies. Amal El-Abd, board member of the association “Hilfe für ausländische Studierende in Leipzig e. V.”, stressed that in such cases, her association can offer straightforward and swift support.
The current crisis has resulted in a “multitude of applications”. Many foreign students plan on returning to Leipzig from their home countries for the start of the winter semester and will then require financial support.