The War in Ukraine: Ongoing Measures to Support Researchers and Students Who Are Refugees

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Freie Universität Berlin looks back on the actions it set in motion in response to the war in Ukraine

Freie Universität Berlin has been reflecting on its efforts to aid researchers and students who are refugees in the wake of the war in Ukraine. The measures put in place since February 24 have aimed to help people who have had to leave Ukraine and would like to continue their studies or research at the university in Dahlem, Berlin, or at home in Ukraine.

To this end, Freie Universität Berlin has set up a program with short-term scholarships for refugee and at-risk researchers. This was designed for Ukrainian researchers who have had to leave their homeland due to the political situation. The university’s departments and central institutes have also received funding to support individual researchers for the time being and establish a relationship with them. The program is set up to also benefit researchers of other nationalities who have been impacted by the war. The Friedrich Meinecke Institute and the Institute for East European Studies have been able to financially support as many as thirty-six Ukrainian researchers through this special program. These researchers receive funding amounting to 1,500 euros over a period of three months. A number of them continue to live and work in Ukraine, including seven historians from Mariupol, who fled the war-torn city and are currently dispersed throughout the country. Currently, fifteen researchers are residing in Berlin and working at Freie Universität.

Some students who escaped Ukraine are now registered as auditing students or exchange students at Freie Universität. Those who are still enrolled at a Ukrainian university are even able to complete courses and acquire credit points (ECTS) as auditing students. Sixteen students who fled the war were retroactively enrolled for the summer semester at Freie Universität, having had their situations evaluated on a case-by-case basis. They met all the requirements for their respective degree programs, including the language requirements.

Other prospective students are kicking off their studies here by taking German courses. The Language Center at Freie Universität Berlin offers classes for different language levels, from beginners to advanced learners. With the help of ERG Universitätsservice GmbH, the university has managed to set up two new courses with forty places for people with no prior knowledge of German.

There are currently 219 students with Ukrainian citizenship enrolled at Freie Universität this summer semester, which is seven more than in the 2021/2022 winter semester.

The Student Services Center is offering counseling in Ukrainian for prospective students who have fled from Ukraine. Networking events for Ukrainian refugees are also being held.

The Center for Academic Advising and Psychological Counseling regularly provides information about studying at Freie Universität as part of the " Uni im Gespräch " (University in Dialogue) series. Up to July 2022 there will be three more informational events held in English for prospective students who want to start or continue their studies at Freie Universität Berlin, regardless of their nationality.

Last but not least, ERG Universitätsservice GmbH is offering assistance to students who are refugees in searching for temporary accommodation on behalf of and in conjunction with Freie Universität Berlin.

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