(Hosted by Dr. Borgmann and students)
The first International Café at RheinAhrCampus for Refugees and their friends was organized by Dr. Laurent Borgmann with a student project group (“Hand in Hand”) on 8 December 2015. The main idea was to share information about existing activities for refugees on campus and in the city and brainstorm ideas about how to develop the International Café in the future in order to meet the expectations of refugees and voluntary workers. The project organizers were students from Portugal, Brasil, Spain, South Korea, Germany, Azerbaijan, Lithuania, Finland and Jordan. Their mission statement was: We will create educational and social learning events. We are local and international students and refugees in Remagen and “Hand in Hand” we will develop our intercultural understanding and our professional competence.
Later in 2016 the International Café was re-located to “BaRACke” a student-run pub in Remagen, where it is still held twice every month.
An International “KICKER” Championship was our sports challenge at BaRACke (local Student Pub in Remagen) for refugees and their friends in December 2015. Volunteers, students and friends built mixed teams competing for the table football championship. The event brought together 80 participants from many countries such as Eritrea, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Portugal, Brazil, Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia and others. The mixing of flags, nationalities and sports mirrored the idea of living together without any differences and the refugees had a great time together with students from RheinAhrCampus.
International Waffle Day with refugees: During the Winter Exam Periods in 2015 and 2016 refugees baked fresh waffles for students who had an exam that day and at thus got in touch and started conversations with regular students on campus. The exam candidates really appreciated how the refugees tried to “sweeten” their exam periods and afterwards stayed in touch with the refugees.
An International Music Festival was held at Jugendbahnhof Remagen (Remagen youth center) at the end of the summer semester in July 2016. Songs were played and many of them were sung together with the audience; contemporary pop songs as well as songs composed and written by the main organizer Jonathan Koretz (student from RheinAhrCampus) himself. As many of our international exchange students were returning home at the end of the semester, it was an emotional last get-together for some of the students with their new friends, the refugees.
In April 2016 an International Bicycle Workshop opened its gates in Grabenstraße, Remagen. Refugees and international students work together with local students, e.g. washing and repairing bicycles, getting some hands-on practical experience and facilitating intercultural exchange. The workshop is open twice every week for two hours and everyone is welcome to drop in and acquire new repair skills. Besides the professional aspect the workshop is another platform to meet and exchange with new friends on a regular basis.