May 27, 2020

University of Bremen: Urgent Support for International Students

The corona crisis has changed studying entirely. At the University of Bremen, teaching, research, work, and studies are taking place digitally this summer semester. One of the things that has hardly come into the public view is that the existential conditions for certain groups of students have become more difficult. The loss of many student jobs has mainly affected those who depend on their jobs and do not receive a BAföG student loan or other additional aid from their parents. 

It is especially international students that find themselves in a difficult situation. At the University of Bremen, the non-profit association XENOS has been supporting students at the universities in Bremen that have come into difficult situations since 1984. The founders specifically chose the Greek name XENOS: Strangers are to be treated as guests. Their support is given unbureaucratically and with the required haste, which is especially important at the moment. 

President: “Extraordinary Situation”

“Due to the corona pandemic, we find ourselves in an unusual situation. The situation affects us all but some of the international students are suffering especially. Those students depend on work to be able to fund their studies and are unable to move into the homes of their parents or relatives. This is shown by the sudden increase in applications to XENOS and the corresponding reasons given,” states the president of the University of Bremen, Prof. Bernd Scholz-Reiter in a circular to staff and alumni. The plea for help in the form of a one-off donation was heard by many recipients and around 17,000 euros were collected in a short space of time. 

Internationality from the Beginning on

Sigrid Dauks, XENOS spokeswoman, emphasizes: “In the past six weeks, we have received more applications than ever – more than 40 have reached us. Most of our association members are university alumni.” The association was one of the first in Germany and is entering its fifth decade. “Internationality has been a hallmark of our university from the beginning on,” stresses Sigrid Dauks. 

Further information:

Cover picture: Sigrid Dauks is the head of the university archive and voluntary spokesperson of the XENOS association. Photo: Karla Götz / University of Bremen

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