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SR in the Curriculum

(23 March 2017)

In support of the priority to encourage socially responsible graduates, Humanities provides funding to course leaders through the annual Social Responsibility in the Curriculum competition. The aim is for Humanities students to be encouraged to think how their enthusiasm for their subject can communicate, connect or be relevant beyond the immediate demands of their course.

This week, we introduce you to a project by Dr Aoileann Ní Mhurchú, School of Social Sciences, and Alex Robertson, from Multilingual Manchester. Students on Aoileann’s Politics of Identity and Difference module are volunteering to provide weekly two-hour English language conversation support sessions to asylum seekers and refugees living at The Chrysalis Family Support Centre in Moss Side.

The project is enabling Aoileann’s students to develop and broaden their ethical, social and cultural awareness, and helping them strengthen their team working and instruction skills. It is also enabling the University to positively engage with our local community and develop further links with asylum seekers, refugees and staff at the Chrysalis Family Support Centre. 

Multilingual Manchester (MLM), which organises the volunteering programme, provided training workshops for the students so they could deliver the conversation sessions which were meaningful and useful to the centre users.

Third-year Politics and International Relations student, Freya Park, said: “Although I have always been interested in migration and the benefits of diversity, I never thought about how hard it must be to integrate into a completely new community where you do not speak the language. This experience has enriched my studies by putting political situations that I learn about into reality. You can be empathetic about events that are happening around the world, but, until you meet people who have been through these experiences, you do not gain a real understanding. I believe the programme plays a vital role in the community and I am hoping to get involved in similar projects wherever I end up after university.”

Molly Joslin, said: “Being involved in the English conversation sessions has really enriched my final year at The University of Manchester. As an English language student, I have gained a greater understanding of the dynamic nature of communication. I have also enjoyed meeting people from different cultures. While it was challenging at first, I have found myself feeling more confident speaking in front of groups, which I know is a skill that I will take with me. Overall, it has been a thoroughly enjoyable experience and one that I hope to continue in the future.”