Berlin experience changed my life, says DMU's Piyush

A life-changing and culture-rich experience awaits De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) students as part of the next major #DMUglobal visit to Berlin this summer.

INSET piyush

Those are the words used by one DMU student who described the benefits of travelling to the German capital for a university-led trip last September.

And DMU is returning to the city this June for one of its biggest-ever overseas visits, just six months after a similar arrangement saw more than 1,000 students and staff travel to New York City. The deadline for applications is Monday, March 13.

Law LLB student Piyush Goraniya was one of the 16 undergraduates who travelled to Berlin last autumn for a #DMUglobal trip which saw them working with refugees.

Third-year Piyush, of Leicester, said: “Visiting Berlin allowed me to experience a different city and culture. Berlin has such a rich culture and history; everywhere you go there are reminders of the war and iconic landmarks such as Checkpoint Charlie.

“In terms of activities there are a lot of things to do during the day and evening, some of which included visiting the Brandenburg Gate, the Holocaust Memorial and the remains of the Berlin Wall. It is also fairly easy to get around with the U-Bahn [underground] running until midnight.”

While in Berlin, the students met and talked with refugees about their experiences, helped create clothing parcels for 150 families and visited a refugee café to prepare and serve food for them.

Last year Chancellor Angela Merkel made the decision to open the door to refugees fleeing war and turmoil in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Thousands made their way to Berlin meaning volunteer work is vital to help refugees integrate more in their new society.

The students also combined their refugee work with DMU’s #LoveInternational event in Berlin which saw Vice-Chancellor Professor Dominic Shellard give a speech endorsing the university’s Europe-wide campaign to reassure EU students that they are still very much welcome at DMU and other British universities in the wake of Brexit.

* Find out more about #DMUglobal at our next open day
* Students help refugees make a new start in Leicester

Piyush said: “In terms of a learning experience, our focus was on the refugee crisis and volunteering to help refugees. This was a life-changing experience for me. We have all probably seen the stories unfold on the news but not everything is stated and shown by the media. After speaking to the refugees I understood the situation further and the reasons why they had to leave their own countries and, for some, even their own families.”

The 21-year-old added: “During my visit I also had the chance to participate in the Vice-Chancellor’s #LoveInternational event which was great to see following the UK’s vote to leave the European Union.”

All DMU students are eligible to participate in this summer’s Berlin trip, which features a range of academic activities as well as this year’s #LoveInternational event followed by a group photo in front of the Brandenburg Gate and a ‘peace picnic’ on the lawn in front of Germany’s parliament building, the Reichstag.
Posted on Monday 6th March 2017

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