AIF Series: Borderless Higher Education – Intercultural learning with refugees

AIF Series: Borderless Higher Education – Intercultural learning with refugees

September 1, 2019 0 By Ronny Jaskolski


[ Music ]>>The idea for this project
began when Duncan MacLaren of Australia Catholic University
approached Dr. Wenona Giles and asked her if
we’d be interested in joining a diploma program
that they’ve had up and running, offering a liberal studies
diploma to hand-picked students, refugee students on the
Thai Burmese border. The project is designed to have
benefits for both York students as well as refugee students. On the York side, they’re
gaining an opportunity to interact with refugee
students who’ve been born and raised in refugee camps. On a virtual platform, using
Moodle through the course that I’m teaching; Geography
2030, The End of the Earth as We Know It, an
Introduction to Global and Environmental Change. So they are taking
the course at York and the refugee students
are taking it on-line and so they have the
opportunity to interact on particular assignments,
as well as just through discussion boards. The hope is that York
students will learn more about how the refugee students on the boarder understand
global environmental change and experience it. I’m assisted in the course by Ei Phyu Han who’s
a PhD student working with me here at York University.>>As the tutorial leader
for this project I interact and assist two refugee camps
along the Thai Burma border. For this course, Skype has
been a very useful tool because they are able to ask
me questions in real-time and I’m able to interact with
them on a more one-to-one basis.>>Many of these students were
born and raised in refugee camps and haven’t had access to formal
post-secondary education and so, through this project, they’re
able to obtain transcripts from reputable universities. In the past, they’ve been
able to use those transcripts to gain access to post-secondary
institutions when they settle in third countries, so for them,
this is a massive opportunity to get ahead and to be able
to serve their community, as well as their own
personal lives and families.>>I’m passionate
about this project because I believe this
creates incredible opportunity for the students. Additionally, since
I am also from Burma, I know that I’m assisting people
who have had similar situations in the past and I believe
it’s real important.>>It’s really challenging, but worthwhile project
absolutely could not have been possible really, without
the support of AIF. And I think as an added benefit, it’s really brought
international attention to York University as a place that has a social
justice platform and that it is offering
education to refugee students and people who desperately
need it. At the same time, as
offering the benefit of increased integral
learning to our students, so I’m very grateful
and I’m glad that the AIF has provided
the kind unique opportunities necessary for these projects that maybe couldn’t otherwise
be funded to get a head start and get off the ground. [ Silence ]