Education can make a difference to build a future of hope

Utrecht University InclUUsion is aimed at those students who are currently 'on hold' in emergency shelters, refugee centers or in their new houses. It offers newcomers the opportunity to participate for free in all kinds of courses offered by Utrecht University.

If you want to know more about InclUUsion and how to participate, please select the links here below. For more information you can also send an email to:

What is Utrecht University InclUUsion?

InclUUsion is a bottom-up initiated project founded by two PhD Candidates, Marij Swinkels (Utrecht School of Governance) and Hilke Grootelaar (Utrecht School of Law). Together with Hakim Jouana and Elena Valbusa (project leader InclUUsion), they established a project to increase access and inclusion in higher education for newcomers in the Netherlands.

This project runs by the name ‘Utrecht University InclUUsion’ and is aimed at those students that are currently ‘on hold’ in emergency shelters, refugee centers or in their new houses. Not only colleagues at Utrecht University, but also the Utrecht Summer School, the municipality of Utrecht, the Foundation for Refugee Students (UAF), Studium Generale and language institute BABEL are partners of Utrecht University InclUUsion.

Why InclUUsion?

Research shows that one of the explanatory factors for lower participation of migrants in the labor market is the long-term exclusion of participation in society while they are waiting for their status or when migrants received their status but are in the process of learning Dutch. For that reason, it is of great importance that migrants are not put ‘on hold’, but that they keep on developing themselves.

InclUUsion is a call to action to make use of this waiting period. It offers newcomers in the province of Utrecht a chance to participate in all kinds of courses offered by Utrecht University, based on the willingness of the course coordinator.

Can I follow courses within the InclUUsion project?

If you have an academic background or experience with studying at a university in your home country, the InclUUsion project might be worth considering! We welcome all newcomers with an academic background and a proper level of English in our InclUUsion project.

For the level-1 courses, we expect participants to have a level of education equivalent to the Dutch 'vwo-diploma' (six year high school degree, preparing for scholarly education) or completed a first year of education at a University of Applied Sciences.

Which courses can I follow?

InclUUsion offers courses at Humanities, Geo sciences, Economics, Law and Governance, Social Sciences and Beta Sciences. For more information, please see the InclUUsion Course Guide.

How can I register for courses?

Do you want to register for one or more courses? Please fill out the registration form here.

  • The application deadline for courses starting in period 2 is 15 October
  • The application deadline for courses starting in period 3 is 7 January
  • The application deadline for courses starting in period 4 is 25 March
How can I participate as a teacher?

If you consider to open your course for newcomers, know of any interested and motivated prospective students and/or would like to receive more information on this project, please contact Marij Swinkels, Hilke Grootelaar or Elena Valbusa by sending an e-mail to

Want to become a buddy student?

Do you want to contribute to the academic integration of refugee students at Utrecht University? InclUUsion has launched a buddy system to help them to get used to everyday life at Utrecht University. The buddy student will support the refugee students in various ways. As a buddy, you:

  • will be connected to a refugee student for 1 term of approximately 10 weeks (or longer, if you wish);
  • offer a guided tour through the university facilities, such as the library, student desk etc.;
  • assist in the use of Blackboard and Osiris;
  • explain how bachelor programs are structured in their faculty of interest;
  • support in the learning process (e.g. help them in writing assignments, how to deal with course literature, etc.);
  • experience intercultural communication;
  • help to build a social network by joining social events organized with the assistance of InclUUsion.

Participation is on a voluntary basis. Apply now by filling in the Registration Form for buddies. If you need more information you can send an email to:

InclUUsion in the media

InclUUsion is a valuable project and has received a lot of attention in the Dutch press. For information, articles, blogs and interviews see the following sources: 

  • Blog DUB, dated 08/06/2017 “Making Journeys: from the classroom to a third space” by Mary Bouquet, Assistant Professor.
  • Blog DUB, dated 08/05/2017 “Een nieuwe kijk op vluchteling-studenten” by Laurien Meijer, master's student. (In Dutch)
  • Article Illuster, dated March 2017 “Studenten, docenten en alumni aan het werk”, interview with Elena Valbusa, p. 12-13. (In Dutch)
  • Blog DUB, dated 30/03/2017 “Education as an integration tool” by Christopher Opoka, InclUUsion student and journalist from South Sudan.   
  • Campus TV RTV broadcast, dated 17/03/2017 “Vluchtelingen, de Universiteit Utrecht en InclUUsion”. Interviews with InclUUsion student Yves Nahimana (Burundi) and Elena Valbusa. (Partly in Dutch)
  • Blog DUB, dated 02/03/2017 “Another (extra)ordinary day at the office” by Elena Valbusa.
  • Article DUB, dated 28/02/2017 “InclUUsion maakt vluchtelingstudenten studenten” (In Dutch)
  • Article Telegraaf, dated 27/10/2016 “Run vluchteling op gratis cursus”. (In Dutch)
  • Article DUB, dated 26/10/2016 “Univeristeit Utrecht stelt cursussen open voor vluchtelingen” (In Dutch)
Other programmes

Other programmes have been inspired by InclUUsion.

  • WURth-while at Wageningen University & Research has started a project for refugee students, offering them the opportunity of participating for free in different courses offered by the university.
  • “Making Journeys: Building blocks for diversity” is a project based on InclUUsion students' experiences, their buddies and teachers. Through Art Based Research methods, they will explore the role that diversity plays in the classroom at the university.