Training Modules

A snapshot of Module 3: Forum Theatre Workshop // Photo: Jason Qu

Here you will find materials, which were developed to prepare university staff in their daily work and interactions with refugee students. The materials have been organized together into training packages, which we also refer to as modules.

The modules are listed in the order they were presented in the test training at one of our universities, but we encourage users to pick, choose and mix according to their own needs and interests.

We wish to provide not only training modules but also food for thought for staff interested in exploring new and innovative ways to work with students with refugee backgrounds.

Dealing with diverse target groups, backgrounds and cultures is certainly inspiring and fulfilling, but social diversity is also never characterised by harmony alone. We frequently find ourselves in complicated communication processes, which are often accompanied by irritations, uncertainties and contradictions. In order for such situations and experiences not to lead to frustrations, aversions, negative feelings or even disengagement, it is most important to reflect on one’s own feelings and reactions, as well as on one’s own involvement in intersectional power differentials and experiences of socialisation. Herefore the concept of Diversity has proven to be particularly helpful.

Throughout this module we encourage participants to challenge their familiar ways of thinking. By exploring the key principles of Diversity and applying them to our own experiences in our work with displaced students, we furthermore aim to improve our professional practice in dealing with social and cultural differences.


Presenters: Aaron Szczerba & Benedetta Gennaro, TU Darmstadt

The purpose of the module is to build an online catalogue of FAQs that can be used and adapted by all HEIs with refugee students. FAQs from our partner institutions were analyzed and divided into three main categories:

  • legal status
  • services
  • academic rules

For each category, FAQs will be introduced, together with some relevant and useful information which can help the university staff to structure the FAQ page.

The module also includes a short list of suggestions on how to write effective FAQs.

This catalogue of FAQs can serve as a useful tool for all universities interested in taking a closer look at the issues concerning their refugee students; moreover the catalogue can work as a reference for improving some of the services provided to students with a refugee background.

The module ends with some time dedicated to discussion among all participants.


Presenter: Barbara Minuzzo, Politecnico di Torino

This Forum Theatre Workshop (FTW) will help participants reflect on real-life problems while engaging with refugee students in the course of their work at the University.

Augusto Boal believed that, in the same way that in traditional pedagogy can be passed from teacher to student without critical consideration, so to could ideas be passed from actor to audience in theatre (Boal, 1998, p19). Forum Theatre is one of set of tools that emerged from his vision. Forum Theatre revolves around the presentation of a short scene by actors, in which audience members are invited to replace the protagonists. This interaction encourages the audience to explore the different ways of dealing with situations.

In our FTW, the scenes portray real-life challenges in our partner universities.  Through this workshop we explore the best practices for university staff to interact with refugee students in the following settings: student registration, the teacher-student relationship during the grading process, and student discussions with international relations staff. This interactive workshop gives participants the opportunity to experiment, discuss and assess different behaviors and actions which can be applied to the above-mentioned situations.

This workshop will:

  • raise awareness among staff members on the causes and effects of stress in dealing with the refugees in the university system
  • ideate realistic scenarios to manage problem situations in order to relieve the stress of not knowing what to do
  • provide opportunities to discuss and exchange best practices
  • share our cultural representations of these situations


Facilitator: Caroline Schlenker, INP Grenoble

The aim of this module is to help participants see through the eyes of refugees. We aim to evoke empathy by means of a simulation activity which was developed for this specific purpose.

By taking part in this activity, participants are able to put themselves into the shoes of refugees, go on a journey with them, and in this way, to try to experience what refugees have to go through. This activity raises awareness about the struggles refugees are dealing with, and the importance of patience and empathy. Understanding this is essential when it comes to communicating with students with such a background.


Facilitators: Barbara Boettger, Gerlinde Mueller-Reinisch, Birgit Steinkellner, TU Graz

This module is aimed at providing the basics of Design Thinking as a tool for creating a more inclusive Higher Education System. By analyzing three case studies, participants develop solutions which seek to facilitate and promote refugee integration in universities. This student-centered approach encourages participants to move beyond the apparent focus on barriers and pitfalls, while still working towards a solution-driven mindset.


Facilitators: Milla Vaisto-Oinonen, Johanna Kaila, Aalto Univeristy and Laura Pauwels, KU Leuven