DESCRIPTION AND METHODOLOGIES
The project is aimed at welcoming students coming from Siria and in particular those recommended by the Monastery of Mar Musa, in Homs. The Monastery already cooperates with Università del Piemonte Orientale and Università Cattolica. We had been the third University to join them, in the 2019/20 academic year. The main goal is to let the Sirian students come to Italy to start or continue the studies avoiding the refugee seekers’ path.
The common aim of all the students coming with the Mar Musa educative corridor is to gain knowledge and experience in order to go back and help the reconstruction of their country.
Mar Musa Project was included in two already pre-existing scholarships for international students: Excellence scholarship and CRUI refugees scholarship. We customized some services from both of them to offer a scholarship and a free accommodation in one of our dormitories.
Mar Musa network, which includes Caritas Ambrosiana and other Catholic associations, is very strong and provides students with several tutoring, social inclusion and welcoming services.
Before the arrival, our International Students office fully support the incoming students, helping them in all the steps of the application procedure and providing all the documents they need for Visa Application.
After the arrival, the office provides them with the standard welcome services offered to all the International students: permit to stay and fiscal code support, full support for matriculation and documents submission. Usually Sirian students do not have problem in providing school documents, however, in case of missing documentation ,our staff can issue the European Passport for Refugees.
RESULTS AND IMPACT
The University implemented the knowledge and the experience on how to relate with refugees and students coming from war affected countries. The network behind Mar Musa corridor is really solid and help students not only during the first days of arriva,l but also during the whole stay, providing services such as: a family where students are hosted during holidays and summer or a mentor chosen from an elder Italian student from the same University course. The pilot project started in the a.y. 19/20 taught us which services, i.e. mentoring or buddies, are essential to be implemented or created in order to reinforce our welcome services. At the moment our management is working towards developing a buddy system for all the international students.