Erasmus University Rotterdam creates opportunities for refugee students and scholars

Michelle Muus

Erasmus University Rotterdam has taken steps to improve prospects for highly educated refugees who want to study at the university. The university has also created temporary positions for refugee scholars that will allow them to continue their work in safe surroundings. These agreements were adopted Friday 6 April in a three-year covenant with the Foundation for Refugee Students UAF. Individual support and talent development are two key areas featured in this collaboration.

The university has chosen to prepare students for higher education studies with a preparatory year.
Where possible, students who have studied in their country of origin will be exempted from first-year courses. This way they will be able to avoid having to repeat their entire programme.

UAF director Mardjan Seighali: “I’m very pleased with this collaboration. Refugees are capable of deciding their own future, but it is crucial that they receive the counselling they need at the outset so they have access to educational pathways appropriate to their needs.”

Preparatory year
In September sixteen refugees commenced with an Erasmus Preparatory Year. Within this framework they take intensive Dutch language courses at the EUR Language & Training Centre (LTC) in order to obtain the required language proficiency for higher education. To support them in practicing their Dutch language skills, a ‘language buddy’ for each participant was sought out among students and employees.

Huibert Pols, Erasmus University’s Rector Magnificus: “During this preparatory year participants can familiarise themselves with the Dutch education system and be prepared to get the most out of their higher education studies. Our ambition is to structurally offer this preparatory year and to expand the range of options available in collaboration with our cooperating partners in Rotterdam.”

Scholars at risk
EUR annually creates two or three research or PhD positions for threatened scholars so they can continue their work in safe surroundings. These candidates are chosen and recommended by the UAF.

About the UAF
The UAF was established in 1948 and provides support for refugees in their studies and in finding suitable employment in line with their capacities. The UAF offers refugees the opportunity to further develop their talents so they can build a new life for themselves in the Netherlands and make a meaningful contribution to society

Since 2009, the UAF coordinates the international Scholars at Risk (SAR) network for the Netherlands and Flanders. Together with Dutch and Flemish institutions of higher education that are members of the SAR network, the UAF provides workplaces for scholars who are at risk as a consequence of their work. This usually involves a temporary position as a researcher or sometimes a PhD position.

More information

UAF: Jasper Vink, communication consultant and press officer, T (030) 204 15 81 M 06-3609 3607

Erasmus University Rotterdam: Press Office, Sandra van Beek or Jacco Neleman.
T (010) 408 1216, E


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