Welcome refugees programme

Building on the shared success of the first cohort, Sciences Po, in partnership with the association Wintegreat, is welcoming a new class of 20 refugees on its Parisian campus. The students are refugees or asylum seekers, aged from 21 to 36, from Syria, Iraq, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Kenya. They have all had some higher education and have a good command of English. Some already had an occupation—dentist, graphic designer or engineer—before leaving their country of origin. 

Language, history and cultural reference classes

The new students will take 21 hours of classes per week for one semester, to refresh their French and English, build up their cultural and historical references through dedicated courses, review their skills and redefine their plans for the future. They will be supported in this by a buddy, a coach and a mentor, each with specific roles, to redefine a career plan and put it into action as effectively as possible.
 
The history classes and the cultural reference classes, which aim to provide a better understanding of contemporary French society, politics and culture, will be taught on a voluntary basis by Sciences Po faculty. In particular, the head of Sciences Po's History Department, Pap N'Diaye, will offer a series of history classes designed for these students.

Access to student associations and support from the Law School Clinic

All Sciences Po activities are open to the refugee students. They can register for all the events organised by Sciences Po, the library, more than 60 sports classes and the Law School Clinic MIGRATIONS, which supports the refugees with legal advice and counsel.  

The story behind the Welcome Refugees programme at Sciences Po

The “Welcome refugees” programme at Sciences Po was initiated in March 2016 by a student association in conjunction with the Office of Academic Affairs at Sciences Po.
In March, Sciences Po welcomed a first cohort of 16 refugees, aged between 20 and 40, from 6 different countries—Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Albania and Sudan. The students took courses in French and English from March to June 2016. Conversation workshops were organised with participation from Sciences Po staff, and students on the "Welcome Refugees" programme were paired with other students to help them acclimatise to French university and culture. Eight of them were able to attend both sessions of the Summer School in June and July, with 70 hours of French as a Foreign Language (FLE) per session.
 
Seven students from the first cohort (four at the Undergraduate College and three at Master's level) are now enrolled in courses at Sciences Po in English and/or French in the social sciences and languages, in the same way as exchange students. This year will give them the opportunity to get used to Sciences Po's teaching methods, test their academic level and earn credits. The academic transcript from the year will facilitate the continuation of their studies at Sciences Po or another higher education institution.  

Meet Louay and Rana, two students from the first cohort

Louay Al Sheikh and Rana Ahmad were students in the first cohort of the “Welcome refugees” programme. They are now exchange students at Master’s level at Sciences Po.

“I had a network in Syria. I want to rebuild a network here”
Louay Al Sheikh moved from Syria to France in October 2015. He was selected by the  NGO Kiron to resume his studies and six months after his arrival, he began French and English language classes at Sciences Po. In June and July, he was also selected to take additional intensive French classes at the Sciences Po Summer School. “In Syria I worked for 15 years as a sales marketing and business development manager in the IT sector. To do this job in France, I will need to master the French language perfectly.”

For the 2016-2017 academic year, Louay will continue his studies at Sciences Po as an exchange student. He will study alongside other students at the Sciences Po Paris School of International Affairs, and will take courses in economy & globalisation, negotiation & diplomacy, Emerging economy, along with French and English classes.

Louay will also continue to work with the Sciences Po Careers Service at .  “The support I received from the careers service at Sciences Po was very useful to work on my CV and the various documents you need to provide when you apply for a job. The careers advisors helped me reflect on my career plan and Sciences Po gave us access to its network of partners and companies. I had a network in Syria that I do not have here anymore. I want to rebuild my network in France.”

“At the same time as my studies, I would like to do theatre to improve my French and gain more self confidence”
Rana Ahmad is 30 years old and moved from Syria to France in 2015. Rana holds a Bachelor’s degree from a Syrian university and she wanted to continue her studies in France. Unfortunately, she could not attend classes at a university because of an insufficient command of French, and also because she was too old to apply for a French scholarship.

In March 2016, she started French language classes at Sciences Po: “I took four hours of intensive French language classes per week, and two hours of English classes per week. I have significantly improved my level! Now I can understand French people and talk with them. I was also able to attend French classes at the Summer School, which helped me a lot.”

Rana also talks about the connections she made outside the classroom. “The conversation workshops with Sciences Po students and employees were very useful, and my buddy at Sciences Po helped me a lot too. He helped me understand life at university and the education system in France.

Rana will spend the 2016-2017 academic year as an exchange student at the Sciences Po Paris School of International Affairs taking courses in international relations and diplomacy. “One of my objectives is also to do theatre. I am sure that it could help me improve my French and be more self confident”.

Related links

Read the press release of the 26 September 2016 (pdf, 110,5 Ko)

Learn more about Wintegreat 

On 22 June 2016, Sciences Po and the German NGO Kiron signed a partnership agreement to enable refugee students in France to return to their studies. Read more

Read an interview with Alyette Tritsch, the student behind the Welcome refugees programme at Sciences Po.

“Multilateralism: Modus Operandi For Progress”

“Multilateralism: Modus Operandi For Progress”

On 10 September 2020, the International Criminal Court’s Chief Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, who just a week prior made headlines for receiving sanctions by the United States government, addressed the new and returning graduate students of Sciences Po’s School of International Affairs (PSIA) for an inaugural lecture on multilateralism.

More
Dual Campus: 3 Questions on Hybrid Teaching

Dual Campus: 3 Questions on Hybrid Teaching

After a a swift transition online due to the Covid-19 crisis last spring semester, the fall semester is starting at Sciences Po on a new "dual campus" model, with courses reinvented and taking on new formats. A few days before the start of the academic year which is set for 14 September 2020, we interviewed Delphine Grouès, Dean of the Institute for Skills and Innovation, on the pedagogical innovations of this new dual campus.

More
Back-to-School 2020: Schedule of Inaugural Lectures

Back-to-School 2020: Schedule of Inaugural Lectures

Welcome new and welcome back, Sciences Po students! Despite an unprecedented and peculiar global context, our 2020 Back-to-School programme of inaugural lectures - which are, for many, open to the general public - promises to set you on the right track to begin an inspiring, fulfilling, and challenging academic year.

More
CIVICA: The Pulse of Europe

CIVICA: The Pulse of Europe

Aurélien Krejbich from Sciences Po is since 1 February 2020 the first Executive Director of CIVICA - The European University of Social Sciences. Krejbich has been involved in CIVICA since its early beginnings. In his previous role as Director of the Centre for Europe in Sciences Po’s International Affairs Division, he worked on consolidating bilateral ties with some of the future partners in the alliance. In this interview, he reflects on CIVICA’s journey and the next stage of growth.

More
Become the political photographer of the year

Become the political photographer of the year

As we launch the fourth annual Political Photograph Competition (FR), which is now open until the 15 September 2020 to all those wishing to enter, the judges remind us that taking a good political photograph is not a question of subject so much as one of seeing- a way of perceiving the often surprising world in which we live, one which goes beyond elections and street manifestations. Here are our three pieces of advice for those thinking of entering.

More
Paris Expansion: An Update on Our Future Campus

Paris Expansion: An Update on Our Future Campus

Once the former Hôtel de l'Artillerie will have completed its transformation, it will become the heart of our future Parisian campus. For the moment, the site is still under construction, but has made enormous progress thanks to state-of-the-art machines and the workers controlling them. Take a sneak-peek below through the lens of talented photographer, Martin Argyroglo.

More
“Studying Law Does Not Mean Sanctifying It”

“Studying Law Does Not Mean Sanctifying It”

Deputy Dean for the past year, Sébastien Pimont is now officially taking over from Christophe Jamin as Dean of the Law School at the start of the September 2020 academic year. This succession, although prepared over a long period of time, is occurring during an unprecedented educational context. However, that doesn’t scare this university professor who sees an even greater opportunity to pursue continuous educational innovation, a trademark of the Law School. Interview.

More
Sciences Po Med Liban: A Student-Led Initiative To Aid Beirut

Sciences Po Med Liban: A Student-Led Initiative To Aid Beirut

On the afternoon of 4 August 2020, two explosions occurred at the port of Beirut, the capital of Lebanon. The catastrophe caused over 170 deaths, 6,000 injuries, between 10 and 15 billion dollars of property damage, and left 300,000 people homeless. Under the guidance of Campus Director Yasmina Touaibia, Lebanese students from Sciences Po’s Menton campus, both on the ground in Lebanon and in France, immediately began to think of how they could help.

More
A New Online Campus Starting Fall 2020

A New Online Campus Starting Fall 2020

After a successful online spring 2020 semester despite an unprecedented emergency context, the start of the 2020/2021 academic year will allow all of our students to embark on a new year at Sciences Po in a safe and serene manner. With both physical campuses and an all-new digital campus available to them, courses have been redesigned to best suit all students.

More
Keep Learning: Sciences Po's Transition Online

Keep Learning: Sciences Po's Transition Online

14,000 students from all over the world and on all continents, 700 classes per day: going online due to the current pandemic has posed an unprecedented and considerable challenge for Sciences Po. It has also been an opportunity to invent new ways to teach and learn. Bénédicte Durand, Vice President of Academic Affairs, recounts the efforts made by the Sciences Po teams to successfully carry out this transition.

More