I began teaching refugees English in the spring of last year. Up to that point, I was ignorant as to what actually happens to those seeking asylum in this country. After class, I spoke to my students and was surprised by their willingness to talk, particularly about the UK. I asked them about their aspirations and learnt that many of them had dreams of higher education.
Several months later I attended a STAR conference. I learnt that refugees and asylum seekers are unable to claim student loans and are also subject to international student fees. It was then I began to appreciate the difficulties refugees and asylum seekers face. I discovered that the cultural clashes and language barrier are nothing compared to the inflexibility of the Home Office rules on claiming asylum. It is a system that aims to process people quickly, and is regrettably used to score political points and win votes. There is so much room for improvement, and STAR (Student Action for Refugees) is a way for us students to contribute.
STAR is the national network of student groups working to improve the lives of refugees in the UK. By raising awareness, coordinating volunteering, and campaigning for better refugee treatment, Royal Holloway STAR can make a difference.
If you would like to be involved in forming this worthwhile and exciting society, please sign up to the facebook page: ‘Royal Holloway STAR’. Together we can address this global issue on our doorstep.