Generate added value for refugees and for the university as a whole

Menschen auf der Flucht – die FH JOANNEUM hilft

Refugees on the run – FH JOANNEUM cares

Numerous universities in Austria have launched programmes and relief operations to help refugees since autumn 2015. However, FH JOANNEUM has deliberately adopted a different approach from many of these projects: with our ‘Refugees on the run – FH JOANNEUM cares’ (‘Menschen auf der Flucht - die FH JOANNEUM hilft’) initiative and broad range of projects, our aim is to generate added value for refugees and for the university as a whole.

At the moment we offer following support and services:

Course admission

We have introduced a simplified admission process for young adults with a higher education background. For more information please scroll down (pdf available!).

Languages and German as a foreign language
  • During the 2015/16 and 2016/17 academic years, employees at FH JOANNEUM offered free German courses for unaccompanied, underage refugees.

  • Asylum seekers provide assistance during Arabic classes at FH JOANNEUM Bad Gleichenberg as native speakers.

  • Refugees can also take part in free German and culture courses at all three campuses (Graz, Kapfenberg and Bad Gleichenberg) and therefore become part of real student life. On successful completion of the courses, they are awarded a certificate with a grade and ECTS points. From winter term 15/16 to summer term 2020 over 500 refugees° took part in one ore more German courses. In summer term 2020 refugees also participated in language courses at CAMPUS LinguaNEUM for the first time.

° This number is the sum of participating persons per semester.

  • At FH JOANNEUM’s ÖSD examination centre, refugees have the opportunity to complete internationally recognised ÖSD examinations at all levels, free-of-charge.
Interculturalism and projects
  • The R.U.D.I. programme (‘respectful, united, diverse, intercultural’) which focuses on intercultural communication and competence brings together refugees and students to exchange ideas, languages and cultures on various courses. They are also awarded a certificate with a grade and ECTS points on successful completion of the course.

  • The Culture and Integration Ambassadors (KIBo, ‘Kultur- und IntegrationsbotschafterInnen’) project launched in 2017 as part of a cooperative agreement between the Schloss Eggenberg Archaeology Museum (Universalmuseum Joanneum, Archaeology & Coin Collection department) and the International Relations department at FH JOANNEUM introduced participants to the past, history and culture of Styria and its neighbouring regions. The project was about reinforcing knowledge and competence in many regards. It also enabled the participants to improve their language skills, to discover cultural similarities and differences between the ‘old’ and ‘new’ homeland and encounter people and myths in time and space.

  • Workshops such as ‘Festivals and parties – how people celebrated and celebrate’ at the Schloss Eggenberg Archaeology Museum (May 2017) provide people from different cultures with knowledge of everyday issues. These include interactive elements as part of the communal learning process (e.g. pottery, cooking etc.)

  • Students and refugees introduce their homelands as part of the Cultural Diversity/Cultural Evenings events: this emphasises the cultural diversity at FH JOANNEUM and encourages reflection and discussion about interculturalism.

  • In sport, people can understand each other without speaking the same language. Our sporting events are therefore particularly ideal for overcoming intercultural barriers: whether ice-skating, bowling or a golf taster course; whether a multi-day walk, dance workshop or semester course for the Brazilian martial art of Capoeira – our sporting events offer a wide range of options for discovering one’s own personal talents. Exhibitions and talks

Exhibitions and talks
  • The publicly accessible exhibition at FH JOANNEUM on ‘People in time and space’ by the Schloss Eggenberg Archaeology Museum gives visitors the chance to recognise just how much potential, zest for life, eagerness, creative drive and a willingness to learn is embodied in the young people who have come to Austria so full of hope, and usually under the most adverse conditions.

  • As part of the FLUCHT.weg.EU and AT FLUCHT.ort.AT series of talks on refugees, a panel of experts discussed current issues relating to politics, science and civil society.

  • In cooperation with ICOM Austria and the Schloss Eggenberg Archaeology Museum, a talk on ‘The lost treasures of humanity in the crisis region of the Middle East’ took place at FH JOANNEUM, exploring the dangers to cultural heritage in warzones.


In order to finance these numerous projects, a donations account was set up in autumn 2015, which also receives the proceeds from the annual charity book flea market at the FH JOANNEUM library.

Education and further education
  • The ‘2B2’ German course (‘to B2’ for ‘to level B2’) initiated and carried out by the International Relations department and funded by AMS (Public Employment Service Austria) was completed by 13 recognised refugees based on the successful completion of 208 teaching units from the end of April to the end of July 2017. 10 participants also received the ÖSD language certificate B2.

  • From the summer term of 2020, refugees will be offered a tailor-made training programme in the field of software engineering, in cooperation with the Vienna-based start-up everyone codes. The aim of this nine-month programme s to support refugees with developing and building on their programming skills so as to improve their chances on the employment market. After completing the basic theory, an internship with a partner company is planned.


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