Support for doctors with a refugee background
For medical doctors to get recognized their degree obtained at a foreign university, they must successfully complete the validation procedure at the Medical University of Vienna. In order to ease the complicated validation process, the CORE project supports doctors who come from various countries and cover different fields of expertise.
The CORE support program kicked off with a study group for refugee doctors in spring 2018. The study group helped during the preparations for the so-called "random sample test". The “random sample test” is used by the university to determine which and how many courses the medical students may still have to take. Between March and June 2018, the study group met twice a week at the CORE Centre, where the participants discussed different subject areas in German, exchanged information and familiarized themselves with the modalities of the examinations. The study group received support from a Egyptian cardiologist with a refugee background who had already successfully completed the validation procedure. “In the study group at the CORE Centre, I prepared myself for the validation with other medical graduates. Together, learning goes much faster, which motivated me a lot”, explains Nour, a doctor from Syria. And Stephanie, who is in charge of the program, says in addition: “Even now, after completing the study group, the doctors regularly meet at the CORE Centre to exchange ideas, to plan further steps together and to learn together”.
As well as the “random sample test”, an exam from the field of pharmacology is compulsory for all doctors who want to have their medical degrees recognized. Therefore, as part of CORE, a learning group in the field of pharmacology was also offered. Ahead of the exam in October this year, the group met twice a week between the end of July and the end of September 2018 to discuss various topics of pharmacology in German. Again, the group was accompanied by a doctor with successfully completed validation.
In addition to these learning groups, in September 2018 CORE also offered a specialized language course. The aim of this course, which focused on professional communication with patients and colleagues, was to consolidate the knowledge of the participants in the medical jargon and thus to prepare them for everyday clinical practice. At the same time, the course served as preparation for the language exam of the Medical Association, which the participants need to pass in the future.
Arabic language course for kids and teens
For children and young people between the ages of 5 and 18 with Arabic as their first language, a native language course is offered at the CORE Centre. The course is implemented by a teacher from Syria, who came to Austria as a refugee.
“Literacy in the native language is incredibly important for further language acquisition and thus also for the acquisition of German as an educational language”, the teacher explains the background of her idea to offer an Arabic language course for children and teens. The level that the kids can achieve in German as a foreign language is directly dependent on the level of the first language. In addition to their own native language, this course teaches culture, history and geography playfully - through videos, toys or singing together.
The course is in great demand. Meanwhile, four courses are offered on two days per week. The children participating in this course are accompanied by their parents and siblings. That is why there is usually a lot going on around the courses in the CORE Centre. The children are very interested and enjoy learning. "I am attending this school here and also another school in Vienna," one of the students explains during our visit to the class. While saying this, his eyes were full of pride. And that is maybe the best feedback the teacher could get.
Artworks that tell stories
In the Creative Open Studio, which is implemented by artists with a refugee background, artistic talents are brought together. Twice a week, people with a refugee background can express their ideas there - by painting, drawing, modelling or by using other techniques. The creative space at the CORE Centre offers a large selection of pens, colours, papers and materials that can be used for creative design.
No matter if experienced artists with training as well as autodidacts, natural talents or simply interested people who are just beginning to study art and painting more closely - the CORE Centre brings together people who live out their creative streak and want to express their ideas and emotions in artworks.
The works of art that have been created over the past few months are impressive and something to be proud of: Numerous pictures and clay figures already decorate the walls, corridors and rooms at the CORE Centre. Marion, the coordinator of the Open Studios explains: “Each artwork tells its own story. Some of them are only known by the artist, some of them are known also by others. And some works of art only need to be watched long enough – then you can hear their story.” After all, all things have stories to tell.