Statement: International students in need

Statement: International students in need

The Corona crisis has been flinging a huge challenge to the students in Germany. Since last week, a few measures have been taken to support the students fin need. However, the consequence to international students caused by the Corona Crisis has been neglected. Around 15% of students in Germany come from other countries, and a huge part of them are suffering from the following problems. 

Immigration Office

As we all know, international students have to generally face two so-called examination departments: one in the university and the immigration office. In order to extend their resident permit for studying-purposes in Germany as a student, a proper course of studies must be presented to Immigration Office. This means that the complete study time can’t surpass three semesters over average study time. Hence the international students have to get a certain amount of credit points every semester. However, a lot of exam appointments were cancelled because of the pandemic. Until now it is still unclear, whether the cancelled exams in Winter Semester 2019/20 would be re-scheduled. This could jeopardize their course of studies and therefore could cause problems when extending their resident permit next time. 

Financing of studies

In order to finish their studies, international students must prove at the Immigration Office to have sufficient financial funds to assure their livelihood and health care. „Sufficient financial funds“ correspond to the BAföG-Regulation (currently 853 EUR per month). However, the Non-EU-students don’t have the right to apply for BAföG and therefore they must resort to scholarship, financial support from parents or part time jobs. The Universities in Germany barely give scholarships in comparison to universities in other countries. Hence, this option is only possible for a manageable number of international students. The worldwide pandemic has not only put students under financial pressure, but also their parents in their home countries who suffer from the economic consequences of the Corona crisis. It’s thereby important to emphasize that many international students, especially from underdeveloped countries, must also support their parents financially. Therefore they can’t really count on their parents financially. 

Lastly remains taking a part job during their studies the only possibility to finance their livelihood in Germany. However, a lot of jobs have ceased since last week. Besides part time jobs in the gastronomy and hotel industry, part time jobs in the university have also been terminated, which are not eligible for Home Office, for example in the technical and administrative departments. At the moment, there is uncertainty regarding the resumption of these jobs. Consequently, the financial uncertainty of international students is especially high. 

Psychological stress 

The problems with regards to the Immigration office and the financial uncertainty lead to psychological stress. The psychological consequences are very high, especially for international students who are in a foreign land and suffer from loneliness. Even if some international students wanted to visit their parents during the lecture-free period, they are now obliged to stay in Germany due to travel restrictions. Losing their job and the distance from their parents make the psychological situation of international students more difficult. 

Racism 

Racism is unfortunately a sad reality in Germany. The topic of racism at the university (or even in Germany) is usually neglected. Nevertheless, this problem has intensified since the beginning of the Corona crisis. Particularly students from China, South Korea and Iran have been suffering from discrimination and racist attacks. Even German students with immigration background encounter racism on a daily basis. Whether in the supermarket, at the university or on the street, racism should not be tolerated.

The Federal Association of Foreign Students (BAS) issued an open letter on March 17th to Minister of Education Karliczek, Minister of the Interior Seehofer and their colleagues on behalf of international students in Germany to implement various measures.

The Gauss Friends show solidarity on behalf of the Gauss International Club with the international students and ask TU Braunschweig and the city of Braunschweig to take note of the current situation of the international students and to take appropriate measures to support them.

Yours truly,

The Board of the Gauss Friends

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