Project 3

Preparing international students and refugees for higher education (2016-ongoing) Examining the role of an intensive language programme and of language tests for linguistic preparedness

In cooperation with the Goethe Institute Bremen and the HERE office, we are delivering an intensive language programme to prepare aspiring students with a refugee background for taking up academic studies. The programme consists of intensive language classes (Goethe Institute) and an accompanying tutor programme (Languages Centre). It is funded by the Senator for Science, the DAAD and the four universities in the Land Bremen.

The effectiveness of the programme and the preparedness of international students more generally is examined by the following two research projects:

  1. a) Learning pathways of refugees entering higher education (“Focus” project funded by the Central Research Foundation of the University of Bremen, ZFF, 2017-2020)

This project accompanies the students with refugee background in the intensive language programme through the programme and during their first year at university. The longitudinal mixed-methods study aims at exploring the language learning pathways our students took, in order to find out how well they are prepared, and how the language programme could be optimized. This project contributes towards paving the way for students with a refugee background into academia.

Anika Müller-Karabil is working on this project in collaboration with Claudia Harsch. Anika’s PhD thesis is located within this project (see here).

  1. b) The role of language tests and linguistic preparedness for academic success of international students (partly funded by DAAD Integra programme for students with a refugee background, 2018-2020; partly funded by g.a.s.t. e.V. for the role of TestDaF, 2018-2020)

In this follow-up project, we extend the target group of refugees to encompass all international students in Bremen. We cooperate with the International Offices of the four universities in Bremen and the Quality Monitoring division of the University of Bremen, to explore how well international students are prepared for their studies, and specifically how well the refugee language programme and the TestDaF prepare students for their academic studies.

Christine Ringwald is collaborating with Claudia Harsch on this project from 2018 onwards.