Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Got your results? Come join STAR: ‘An Incredible Experience’

Its results day – with sixth form and college students across England, Wales and Northern Ireland finding out (17th Aug 2017) how they got on in their A-Levels.

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Scotland and Ireland have already published their results so we congratulate everyone and wish you all the best of luck for the future.

For those aspiring to go to university many will now have a much clearer idea of where they are heading; while others may end up using the Clearing system.

The next step for those going to uni is to start thinking about what you want to do with your time there. It’s an exciting new chapter of course, but the important thing is to get the most out of your experience.

There will be seemingly endless clubs and societies on offer; but you can do something really easy and fun to help support refugees by joining the local STAR Group.

Each week during term time hundreds of STAR members up and down the country help to welcome refugees into their local communities.

At STAR you’ll volunteer at refugee projects, campaign for refugee rights, meet and speak to refugees at English conversation clubs and fundraise by partying at gigs and club nights.

You can find out everything about STAR here but don’t just take our word for it that this is a brilliant way to get more out of university.

Lucy, who volunteers with STAR Birmingham and is the group’s Vice-Chair said: “I have really enjoyed volunteering with STAR over the last two years and feel that I have had the opportunity to meet wonderful people with incredible stories! It’s also a place where students can share about their passions and find ways of using them to welcome refugees.”

Juliana from Reading STAR makes the point that students have the power to make change in the world.

“There are lots of refugees in the UK who need your help, whether it is to practice their English or to hand out tinned food and warm jumpers. You can be angry all you want with the government, but the fact is, if you do not act on your feelings nothing will change.”

She describes English conversational classes as “fun activities” aimed at enhancing people’s confidence and vocabulary. “No hour passes without the whole group erupting into laughter”, she says.

Maddy – who’s now our Student Network Coordinator – makes the point that helping refugees is no niche interest “but a worldwide movement.”

Of her time with STAR at university she adds: “it was an incredible experience, crowned by the fact that in just one year we managed to get Surrey to create bursaries for asylum seekers through our Equal Access campaigning which was a huge success.”

People who have sought refugee protection in the UK do not have equal access to university, most are classed at overseas students. This means they are charged higher fees, are not eligible for student finance and do not have the right to work to earn money for fees and living costs.

However in the past five years nearly 60 universities have addressed this by creating special scholarships and fee waivers for asylum seekers and refugees. This is amazing and makes a massive difference to all these students.

You can find your local group here but don’t worry – we can help you set one up, just get in touch with the national STAR team

So congratulations again if you are off to university – hope to see you under the STAR banner soon.

Posted by STAR team on 16/08/2017 at 03:24 PM