Students from around Europe have come to De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) to learn about supporting young and unaccompanied asylum seekers across the continent.
People studying at universities in Belgium, Holland and Germany are spending a week in Leicester with students on DMU’s Youth Work and Community Development course looking at how migrants from different countries are cared for in the city.
They are also sharing their cultural experiences on the topic, giving DMU students an insight into how other countries and cities support asylum seekers.
Throughout the week the visitors will join DMU students and staff in touring Leicester, visiting St Matthew’s, which has a strong Somalian community, and talking to the city council about integration and changes in migrant populations.
They will also engage in inter-university discussions about the impact of Brexit and other political developments on the freedom of movement and care for migrants.
Nora Abdi, a first year Youth Work and Community Development student at DMU, said the week was a good opportunity to get different perspectives on youth work.
The 31-year-old, who grew up in Kenya, said: “I always wanted to learn more about other countries. It’s why I came to DMU – the opportunities studying in the UK give you are amazing.
“I feel youth work is an important area for me. Young people have to face many issues around the world, with jobs, a lack of training and so on. So to be able to talk to people from different countries gives you a much wider perspective.”
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Brecht van Dijck, a Belgian student, said one of the issues being discussed over the week was Brexit.
He said: “One thing which Brexit will impact is the Erasmus+ programme. We don’t know how the UK’s withdrawal from the EU will impact but it could make it more difficult for young people to access the programme, which is a great way for students across the EU to travel and explore other cultures and countries.
“For me, I chose to come on this week because I’d not been to the UK before and already I can see that Leicester is very diverse but it is also very integrated.
“I think the city I’m from – Antwerp – is the second most diverse city in the world but it could learn a lot from the way Leicester has all these different people living with each other as oppose to next to each other.”
Miriam Brennecke, who studies at the HAWK University of Applied Science and Art in the German city of Holzminden, said she had enjoyed discussions with DMU students.
She said: “We have talked about aspects of youth work and social care and also the differences between rights for young people across Europe, like mandatory and so on.
“The ideas have really been flowing.”
Posted on Wednesday 26th April 2017