More UK universities are awarding scholarships to refugees

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higher education news: Refugee scholarship
(Photo from UNHCR)

Refugee scholarship

Since Aaron’s escape from a pickup-truck in Aswan in Southern Egypt, where he found himself after being snatched by human traffickers in Sudan, he is finally going to pursue the Master’s degree of his choice, in Immigration and Diaspora Studies.

Aaron, a 30 year old refugee from Eritrea is one of the fortunate escapes coupled with sheer persistence that led him from his hometown of Eritrea through Sudan to Egypt before arriving in the UK.

“I was kidnapped,” he said, matter-of-factly. “That’s how I got to Egypt.”

He is one of the seven students at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), who has been awarded the refugee scholarship newly launched for the 2016-17 academic year. The SOAS Refugee Scholarships is one of the many similar initiatives carried out by UK universities in response to the worldwide refugee crisis that shocked Europe in 2015.

Professor Richard Black, Pro-Director for Research and Enterprise at SOAS highlighted the importance for society to begin thinking differently and  reflect on how they can do their part to change the lives of these refugees. Tertiary education opens door to a brighter future, hence universities can do their part by helping to ensure that these young individuals have access to higher education.

Until now, only 1 percent of all refugee youths worldwide managed to gain access to higher education. For those in the UK, scholarships and bursaries are required for them to attend universities; not everyone who has been granted protection will automatically be qualified for home student support and university costs can be expensive.

Hence, currently there are more than 40 UK universities nationwide providing scholarships for refugees and asylum seekers that range from fee waivers to scholarships that include accomodation and living costs.

Since Aaron’s escape from a pickup-truck in Aswan in Southern Egypt, where he found himself after being snatched by human traffickers in Sudan, he is finally going to pursue the Master’s degree of his choice, in Immigration and Diaspora Studies.

Fellow refugee scholarship awardee, Ahmad, age 26 was equally motivated in his choice of course – MSc in Violence, Conflict and Development.

Ahmad is a Syrian Kurd who escaped his hometown of Aleppo in 2013, and now hopes to use his studies to give something back, “I feel so privileged because I have the opportunity to study at one of the most prestigious institutions when it comes to the Middle East and North Africa. It’s a wonderful opportunity.”

Furthermore, he reckoned “Europe today has the pleasure and privilege of having Syrian scholars — intelligent, smart people — coming here. They are an asset. Tomorrow, the conflict in Syria will come to an end, and these people will go back to help rebuild the country. This is what I hope to do and it is why I chose these particular subjects.”

Source: The UN Refugee Agency

Do you think more universities should open their doors to refugees? Come share your thoughts by joining us at the upcoming QS in Conversation seminar from 7-9 February 2018 in London, UK; as we gather academics worldwide to discuss on University Rankings and International Migrant Scholars. Click here for more details and/or to sign up for the event.