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  6. How do I get to college? Volkswagen guides show refugees the way

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How do I get to college? Volkswagen guides show refugees the way

He is an expert in his field and knows how to reliably get to the destination: the guide.

Matran, a Sudanese, now has one at his side. As do 15 other young women and men who have fled to Germany from their home countries. The guides who accompany them are Volkswagen employees.

A key element to integration is education. The Volkswagen Group is offering refuges access to college, together with Kiron Open Higher Education. The charitable start-up has developed an educational platform with which refuges can start their studies online. After two years, they will then have the ability to sign up for classes at one of more than fifty partner colleges, where they can receive an academic degree.

“My degree is something very valuable, it helped to advance me. I would like to help others have this opportunity.”

Hanno Teiwes Guide
The guides are doctoral candidates at Volkswagen. They support refuges by making their path to higher education easier.

Volkswagen is sponsoring a total of 100 of these study places in the fields of computer science and engineering. Matran is already in the midst of an online study program; he studied IT in Sudan and has been in Germany for two years. He has become familiar with the country and speaks good German. And yet: “I have so many questions,” says the 24 year-old. “They have to do with studying in Germany and with life here.”

The guides want to answer these questions for him and make it easier for him to get to college. They know a great deal about the German system of higher education, about the requirements, degrees and campus life. They have just finished their studies and are now writing their dissertation at Volkswagen. Hanno Teiwes is one of the guides. “My degree is something very valuable, it helped to advance me. I would like to help others have this opportunity.”

“I have so many questions. They have to do with studying in Germany and with life here.”

Matran
Refugees have questions about their studies and life in Germany. The guides want to give them answers.

The two counterparts met for the first time in Wolfsburg a few days ago to learn more about each other. They have formed 16 pairs, each consisting of one student and one doctoral candidate. They were previously in contact via Skype, email and phone. They will also be in touch with each other in the coming months if one of the two needs some good advice, ideas, or an encouraging word.

The guide program is a project of Volkswagen Flüchtlingshilfe (refugee assistance), which was established in the fall of 2015. In the past two years, the Volkswagen Group, its brands and employees have helped to prepare some 3,500 young people for the educational and job market – by sponsoring language training and prequalification activities. “Our projects range from student sponsorship through the Volkswagen Belegschaftsstiftung to preparation for training from Porsche to MAN. Through the cooperation with Kiron we are creating prospects for highly qualified employment,” says Ariane Kilian, head of the Group refugee assistance program.

The guide program supplements the collaboration with Kiron. Matran is confident that it will be a help for him. “If I have questions, I will know who to go to.”