Migration and Refugee Aspects of Life – online course review/article – Emma Hyland

Migration and Refugee Aspects of Life is one of many courses offered by Crossing Borders International College in collaboration with the social learning platform CanopyLAB. Through the collaboration Crossing Borders aims to in provide accessible education to all those with an interest in empowering themselves with the knowledge needed to build a peaceful and sustainable world. The courses Crossing Borders International College offers are comprehensive, utilizing the real-life experience of experts in the subject-areas to empower learners in their own individual journeys. The courses offered touch on topics such as the UN’s Sustainability Goals, Inequality, Conflict and Peacemaking, and Climate Activism, amongst many others. In this article the contents and learning experience within the “Migration and Refugee Aspects of Life” will be discussed from my own perspective, as someone who was recently fortunate enough to take part in the course.

Over the past few years the global refugee situation has gained increasing attention in a world that has globalized rapidly. Information on the refugee situation comes from many different sources, the media, world governments, UN organizations and, of course, word of mouth. Due to the many different voices speaking about refugees and migrants, there has also been an increased level of debate around the topic and a variety of questions have been raised, such as “what is a refugee?”, “who should be responsible for solving the refugee situation?” and “how can we help the refugee situation?”. With these questions and many others in mind, Crossing Borders developed this course “Migration and Refugee Aspects of Life” with the intention of increasing education on refugee issues through focusing on three main topics: what it means to be a refugee, the current refugee situation and how Covid-19 has impacted it, and what it means to be a young refugee. These topics make up the three units for the course, with learners progressing through units each designed with different focus points that, when combined, provide a comprehensive understanding of the global refugee situation.

The course begins with unit one “What does it mean to be a refugee?”, where learners are provided with video lectures and learning materials that provide a solid background on what a refugee is, how the refugee situation has gotten to where it is today historically, what protections refugees are rightfully entitled to and what the life of a refugee is like. Once the learner has passed through the learning materials provided they are able to take a quiz, where they are encouraged to reflect on a series of questions involving the historical background of refugee protection, and the rights that refugees have globally.

Unit two begins with a lecture provided by Garba Diallo, the Crossing Borders Founding Director, which is truly a highlight of the course. Garba discusses the current refugee situation with a far-reaching insight and provides brilliant perspectives on the impact that Covid-19 has had on the refugee crisis and the underlying political systems, foreign influences and world order that has caused the current issues within the refugee situation. Garba ends his lecture by encouraging learners to engage their creativity to brainstorm possible solutions for how the world can share the burden of hosting refugees, how countries should integrate refugees, and how we can deal with the deeper traumas that many refugees have to struggle with. The topics Garba raises are followed up with extremely relevant learning materials, and a series of exercises designed to facilitate analysis, debate and investigation from the learner.

Unit three is designed to provide insight into the topic of Youth Refugees, and the unique set of issues that a child must deal with while navigating their journey as a refugee. Through a series of videos and follow up materials, the nuances of the life of a young refugee are discussed, enabling the learner to reflect on the different contexts and circumstances that the struggles of a refugee can come in.  This unit takes an important look at the productive ways in which the life of a child refugee can be improved in our own countries, through projects and initiatives that aim to support their journeys.

Overall the Migration and Refugees Aspects of Life course offered by Crossing Borders provides a detailed and clear understanding of migrants and refugees in today’s world, through identifying three main topics and providing video materials, lectures, articles and reports that support the learning experience throughout the process. This course is designed for someone who wishes to empower themselves with a more nuanced and well-rounded understanding of the refugee in a modern context, or who maybe wishes to gain new perspectives in their knowledge of the refugee situation. The units are designed to empower learners with historical and statistical data while also encouraging each learner to reflect on the life of a refugee through their individual perspectives, and starts the learner on their own journey of brainstorming and problem solving. Once completing the course, the learner should be left with a strong base understanding of the current refugee situation, as well as a respect for the many different contexts and perspectives that are involved.

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