Integration Through Language

Vi mimrer tilbake til en tidligere artikkel fra 2015 om Norsk Start i Underdusken. Mye har skjedd siden det. Vi har vokst betraktelig, og nå starter vi også opp i Oslo. Alt takket være engasjementet og innsatsen til herlige studenter

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Tekst: Olav Mydland — Oversatt av: Signe Karmhus, Anders Påsche — Foto: Hans Fredrik Sunde — Publisert: 12.09.2015 18:01 — Hentet fra: dusken.no

Europe stands in the middle of a refugee crisis. Here in Trondheim, the organization Norsk-start currently helps refugees to integrate through language meetings.

Europe’s engagement in the refugee crisis the last few years has received harsh criticism. Amnesty has chosen to call the situation «an international betrayal», and the political parties in Norway are prioritizing to argue about whether 10 000 syrian refugees get to stay in the country or not. All this while several hundred thousands are dreaming about a new dawn inside the European borders.

And right in the midst of the largest refugee crisis since the Second World War, Norsk-start has, for one year now, tried to help refugees in Trondheim with their integration into society. Also with linguistic help from NTNU-students.

Volunteers

Preben Einvik and Thomas Torkildsen established the organization Norsk-start one year ago, with the goal to help immigrants in Norway have an easier transition into the Norwegian society.

– We in Norsk-start are working to offer language lessons for refugees in Trondheim, says Einvik, who usually studies Work Psychology at NTNU, and has a 50-percent job position in the municipality Rissa.

With economical aid and renting of rooms from the municipality of Trondheim, Norsk-start organizes meetings between refugees and students at NTNU once a week.

– There are in total 17 volunteer students with us today. Once a week for an hour, these 17 students and approximately 30 refugees meet to improve on their language. The refugees get to practice their Norwegian and lead the conversation, while the Norwegian students get an insight into new cultures and a different way of living, says Einvik.

He happily tells about the positive impressions they’re left with from the first year of Norsk-start’s existence. They’re seeing for themselves that the refugees are improving their language and having an easier transition into the Norwegian society. Both when it comes to education and in their daily lives.

From Somalia to Norway

Abdullahi Abdi Hussein comes from Qoryoley in Somalia, which lies 120 kilometres south of the capitol Mogadishu. Hussein arrived in Trondheim two years ago, and has been a part of Norsk-start since it was established. He says it has made the transition to the Norwegian society much easier.

– The meetings with Norsk-start give me the opportunity to speak Norwegian once a week, which has proven very important when it comes to both my school and work place, says Hussein.

Hussein is a part of Trondheim municipality’s two-year program for integration of refugees. Next to a trainee job at Burger King in Trondheim city, he’s also joined a course in Norwegian for adults. Through this program, Hussein’s getting ready to integrate into the Norwegian society.

– Norsk-start gives a very good insight into the daily life of Norwegians, at the same time as it’s providing linguistic training that I’d usually have problems getting elsewhere. It’s also very pleasant to meet young students who are devoted to society and truly wishes to help us with our integration. I’m very glad and thankful for this opportunity, says Hussein.

Language is essential to succeed

Many refugees’ main problem when coming to Norway, is the lack of education from their home contries. This can be seen in statistics, which tells us a large quantity of refugees in Norway have low levels of education and experience.

– The goal of Norsk-start is to help as many refugees as possible toward a steady job. Through knowledge of the Norwegian language, we wish to help them attain a job, and give them the opportunity to contribute to the Norwegian society, says Einvik.

Red Cross also has an offer for linguistic exchange for immigrants, but they have been struggling to attract people with knowledge of the Norwegian language.

– One of our goals in Norsk-start is to redirect some of the creativity found in student societies in Trondheim towards our new compatriots. There are so many active and dedicated students in Trondheim with so much knowledge, who also could learn a lot from refugees, sats Einvik.

In the long term, Einvik hopes that Norsk-start will attract more volunteers who could help refugees succeed in the Norwegian society.

– I sincerely hope we’ll be able to give this organization a good base to work from. In the future, we’re shooting for just as many student volunteers as there are refugees at every single meeting we organize, says Einvik.

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