Given the increasingly important role of digital technologies and communications in the lives of refugees experiencing integration in various spheres of their host societies, including (but not limited to) employment, social connections, education and academic life, cultural and language learning, etc., the proposal to design and implement the course “New Media for Integration” has been greatly welcomed by Kevin van der Poel (project leader of the preparatory year course at Erasmus) as well as the University board, Stichting voor Vluchteling-Studenten UAF and the municipality of Rotterdam working in close cooperation with Kevin in this programme.
For this educational project to happen, ERMeCC researchers developed their own education curriculum for a “new media, intercultural communication and integration” course aimed at prospective refugee students who are in attendance of a higher education degree programme. This course was organized by Dr. Amanda Paz Alencar and Kevin van der Poel and relied on the expertise and contribution of Dr. Aleid Fokkema, Dr. Ana Cinthya Uribe Sandoval, Dr. Joep Hofhuis, Dr. Noemi Mena Montes, Rashid Gabdulhakov, (PhD candidate), Dr. Vidhi Chaudhri and Dr. Yijing Wang. Each expert taught on a topic based on their area of expertise.
This module course developed and taught by ERMeCC researchers covered (1) basic digital and information literacy skills and (2) access to digital practices that facilitate the integration of refugee students in the academic life as well as in the larger society, (3) important intercultural communications skills knowledge for preparing them to the international university environment at Erasmus and (4) future employment, as well as (5) the promotion of networking opportunities for their integration through the digital.
The course was structured in 9 sessions in the course of 8 weeks. The last session of the course took place on Thursday (December 13, 2018). Students will receive an official certificate for their attendance and achievement in this course.
The ‘New Media for Integration’ has been an inspirational experience and an amazing intercultural opportunity for the experts involved in this programme. As quoted by Rashid in his recently blog post on diversity and inclusivity: “I had the opportunity to connect with students from Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, and together address global media trends… Most importantly, we connected. We shared. We informed and influenced each other.”
Finally, we are happy to announce that this course will continue to be part of the preparatory year programme in 2019 with the support of the municipality of Rotterdam and Erasmus University.