The opportunity to work with refugees in Berlin is one that Jabulani Ndlovu has grabbed with both hands.
The third year Mental Health Nursing student at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) says there will be much he and the men, women and children he meets in the German capital will be able to learn from each other – because Jabulani himself once fled persecution to make his home in the UK.
Jabulani, who will travel to Berlin with hundreds of other students as part of a huge #DMUglobal trip in September, was a refugee from Zimbabwe during the time of President Mugabe.
He is keen to see how his experiences of arriving in the UK compare to the thousands who have arrived in Berlin, fleeing from war, tyranny and oppression in crisis-hit countries such as Syria, Iraq and parts of Western Africa.
Jabulani, who is now a naturalised British Citizen with a wife and four children, has nothing but praise for the way he was looked after in the UK. He was appointed to a case worker who supported him with the task of finding shelter, fresh clothing, food and healthcare in a country he did not know.
In fact, he sees his quest to qualify as a Mental Health Nurse from DMU as ‘payback’ to the society that welcomed him and helped him map out a new future for him and his family.
Jabulani said: “I want to be able to share experiences with the people of Berlin and compare them. I want to know how refugees are supported to get food, clothing, shelter and financial help.
“It will also be fascinating to find out about mental health issues and the type of care offered in Germany. How do the refugees cope with the experiences they had before arriving in Germany while facing the pressures of starting again in a different country. Many have left families behind and they will be worrying about them on a daily basis.
“I feel I had an advantage when I arrived in the UK as I could speak English. But how do the refugees arriving in Berlin deal with the language barrier? What sort of help do they get.”
Students head to Berlin to work with refugees
DMU helps communities at home and abroad
#DMUglobal Mass Trip to Berlin now open for applications
Jabulani decided to further his education at DMU after meeting many people who had studied there.
He said: “There are so many different cultures at DMU and you learn so much about the way people live and learn together.
“My way of thinking and the way I do things has completely changed since I came to university and this society has been welcoming to me. So it is payback time for me.”
The annual trip to Berlin has seen hundreds of students offering support to refugees, from creating clothing parcels and serving food in refugee cafes to carrying out research to see how the work in Germany can impact on projects in Leicester and the rest of the UK.
Working with refugees is one of many strands to the #DMUglobal trip - the fourth to Berlin. Students also carry out academic work which is relevant to their courses, experience life in one of Europe’s most dynamic cities and broaden their cultural horizons. This means they develop key skills valued by employers.
Posted on Friday 31st August 2018