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Services and Initiatives for Refugees


Providing assistance to people who have fled from war and political persecution in their native country and helping them to realize their potential: The University of Freiburg is taking on responsibility by developing new programs for refugees interested in studying and coordinating existing faculty and student initiatives and projects for refugees.


Results of the Fundraising Campaign

The booster association Alumni Freiburg e.V. raised a total of 8750 euros in its fundraising campaign for student refugee aid projects at the University of Freiburg. The board of directors of Alumni Freiburg e.V. has decided to distribute the funds as follows:

  • 2000 euros for the student initiative “Initiative Schlüsselmensch e.V.”
  • 2000 euros for the student workgroup “Uni für alle”/the student government’s anti-discrimination unit
  • 1500 euros to the university as an additional contribution to the pre-course for refugees funded by the German Academic Exchange Service/Federal Ministry of Education and Research
  • 1500 euros for the initiative “Wissen+Welcome,” which offers refugees a platform for communication and gives them an introduction to German society and culture through lectures on daily life in Germany held by volunteers

After the deduction of smaller amounts to support other initiatives, Alumni Freiburg e.V. has 1431.52 euros left, which will go to support at least one further refugee aid project.

“We thank all donors for their generous decision to support refugee aid projects at the University of Freiburg,” says Rector Prof. Dr. Hans-Jochen Schiewer. “In addition to helping to pave the way to the university for prospective refugee students, their donations also acknowledge the outstanding dedication of our students, who are getting these projects off the ground with their enthusiasm and hard work.”

Central University Services

Coordination Office

Rebecca Hofmann is available to support institutions, associations, and other organizations concerned with refugees interested in studying in the Freiburg administrative district. She is responsible for coordinating efforts between all involved actors in the region and for providing them with up-to-date information, thus paving the way for refugees who wish to take up a course of study. The position is funded by the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Science and Research and supported by the University of Freiburg, the Freiburg University of Education, and the Studierendenwerk Freiburg (SWFR).

Advising and review of higher education entrance qualifications

The first point of contact at the University of Freiburg for refugees interested in studying is the Department of International Admissions and Services (IAS) at the Student Service Center (SCS). It provides support and advising for all international students before, during, and after a course of study and also reviews the higher education entrance qualifications of refugees interested in taking up a course of study.

Guest student program

Refugees interested in taking up a course of study are eligible to register at the University of Freiburg as guest students. This gives them the opportunity to familiarize themselves with Baden-Württemberg’s university system. Guest students have a wide variety of courses to choose from and also receive free access to the university’s independent language learning area, where they can use learning materials and computer programs to practice German and other foreign languages. The University of Freiburg is waiving the 50-euro guest student registration fee for refugees in winter semester 2016/2017.

Scholars at Risk

The University of Freiburg has joined the "Scholars at Risk" network. The organization aims each year to make possible guest fellowships abroad for researchers who are threatened with war and political persecution in their homelands. More than 400 universities from around 40 countries belong to the network. The first visiting fellow from the program has already arrived. The Arnold Bergstraesser Institute for Socio-Cultural Research (ABI) has successfully applied for a fellowship stipend for a researcher from Burundi. The grant came from the Philipp Schwartz Initiative, which was started by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation together with Foreign Ministry of the Federal Republic of Germany.

The Philipp Schwartz Initiative was established by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation together with the Foreign Ministry of the Federal Republic of Germany. It enables universities, colleges and other research institutions in Germany to provide guest fellowships for scholars from abroad who are at risk. This initiative is financed by the Foreign Ministry, the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation, the Fritz Thyssen Foundation, the Gerda Henkel Foundation, the Klaus Tschira Foundation, the Robert Bosch Foundation and the Stiftung Mercator.

University Groups and Other Initiatives


Services of the Studierendenwerk Freiburg (SWFR)

The SWFR is responsible for providing social counseling to students in the Freiburg region. The SWFR counseling services are also open to prospective refugee students who have questions on social, health, or financial issues. Furthermore the website offers detailed information about studying for refugees.

Information about studying for refugees

The website Refugees Welcome provides a comprehensive overview on the topic studying for refugees, including answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs), as well as information sheets about the coordinators for refugees at the different universities or German course providers in the Freiburg region. Furthermore you can find information about special offers, like preparatory courses at the universities.

Using the Cafeterias

Refugees with guest student status receive reduced guest prices at all cafeterias run by the SWFR. Those who fulfill certain conditions can even apply with the social counseling service to receive free meals.

International Club

The SWFR International Club Freiburg provides many opportunities to meet other students from different cultures. It is a forum for students and prospective students from Germany and abroad who wish to meet new people and learn about other cultures. The many events and services organized by the club include the following:

  • a buddy program for students who are new to Freiburg,
  • a search service for language tandems,
  • the "Walking Dialogs" offer an interactive way to learn German
  • small-scale intercultural encounters and events at the Hofcafé in Herderbau

In the students group "Yalla Orient" students of German and Arabic origin work together on integration concepts and organise events, like the Arabic Cultural Days. Moreover, the picture-dictionary Pic Me for students is available in Arabic

SWFR on the Internet und Social Media

Visit for information on all social services for students, including financial aid, living, child care, and counseling services. The website Refugees Welcome is particularly interesting for refugees who would like to start or continue their studies.

Follow our Facebook page to receive up-to-date information on all of our events and services.

Our blog provides a look behind the scenes. For example, students can read about how other new students in Freiburg are getting on.