YEM St Andrews: Refugee crisis in perspective report

On Monday, 12 October 2015, the Young European Movement St Andrews held its first event of the new academic year. More than sixty undergraduate and postgraduate students listened to presentations on the refugee crisis and discussed their views on the European Union’s response to this unprecedented challenge.

Natasha Saunders, who is a committee member of ‘Refugee Action St Andrews’ and a final-year St Andrews PhD student specialising in refugee and asylum policies, gave the interested audience an

overview of the technicalities of EU member states’ asylum systems. After Natasha’s insightful presentation, Thomas McElholm and Antonia Zimmermann, who both volunteered in refugee camps over the summer, shared their experiences. Thomas, a 2nd year history student at the University of St Andrews, talked about his work in Calais’ so-called ‘jungle’ migrant camp. He informed the attentive audience about the daily routine in the camp, depicting the tremendous hardships faced by refugees. Antonia, secretary of the Young European Movement St Andrews, then added her own experiences. She spoke about her work as a volunteer in a large refugee camp in Berlin and reflected on the great gratitude shown by the refugees. The floor was then opened to the audience, enabling the listeners to ask questions, articulate comments and share experiences.