CRS: Refugee Youth Experiences
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Level: Undergraduate
Division: University-wide Programs
Department: Global Studies
Course Number: UGLB 3714
Course Format: Seminar
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
  • Global Studies
  • Human Rights
  • Social Justice
The U.S. resettles about 80,000 refugees annually of whom 35 to 40% are children. This collaborative research course introduces students to concepts related to forced migration with a focus on the experiences of refugee children. In the first part of the course we will read key texts which discuss the definition of refugee, refugee camp experiences, and the three permanent solutions for refugees outlined by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), with a particular emphasis on resettlement in third countries. Students will learn how refugee, asylee, and immigrant youth who they will encounter in the service learning component of the class (see below) experience these transitions from being a resident of their country to becoming a refugee/an asylee/an immigrant and then finding refuge/a new home in the U.S. Refugee and asylee youth and their families are aided by Voluntary Agencies (Volags) to ease their transition to a new society. In the second part of the course we will discuss issues that are pertinent to refugee/asylee/immigrant youth such as assimilation, acculturation, and the needs of Students with Interrupted Formal Education (SIFE). Ultimately the course will juxtapose theory and practice and by doing so, knowledge will be mutually reinforced and enriched. This course is comprised of regular seminar meetings AND a substantial service learning component. Students will serve as tutors in the International Rescue Committee's (IRC) Youth Program for about 2.5 hours per week throughout the semester. Students will volunteer with the Saturday Learning Series in midtown Manhattan on Saturdays from 10:am to 12:30pm. In this capacity they will see the inner-workings of programs designed to aid refugee/asylee/immigrant youth’s adjustment to their new environment and to succeed academically. Thus, they will be able to make connections between their experiences and observations and the theory/readings discussed in class. Given that students will work with youth, all students have to undergo a background check administered by the IRC and/or the New York City Department of Education. In collaborative research projects, students will create a guide for future volunteers to help them understand and assist refugee/asylee/immigrant students better. For this project students will draw on existing research and data. In addition, students will collect data on challenges faced by refugee/asylee/immigrant youth through participant observation in the service learning component of the class and through an information session with key informants such as IRC staff. The guide which the students will compile will include a theoretical section on forced migration and refugee resettlement/immigrant experiences and a practical part which will include suggestions on how to assist refugee/asylee/immigrant children. Thus, the guide will enable students to demonstrate their theoretical knowledge of issues related to refugees/asylees/immigrants as well as to demonstrate the knowledge which they have gained through volunteering with the IRC.
Course Open to: Degree Students


Open to Undergraduate students.