"Offener Hörsaal"

The project "Offener Hörsaal" was successfully launched in the autumn semester of 2016. Similar projects can be found at the universities of Basel, Zurich and Geneva. The project is aimed at people with a refugee background and students of the University of Bern. With this project, the SUB would like to offer refugees access to education and society and the opportunity to get an insight into everyday life at the University of Bern.

Open Lecture Hall
Open Lecture Hall

How does the project work?

The participants of the project will be registered by us as auditors at the University of Bern. This registration is valid for one semester. The participants receive a personal auditor's pass and can attend up to five lectures and seminars of their choice. They can also take part in excursions and other activities within the framework of their chosen courses. They also receive a personal campus account and thus access to all the necessary documents for their courses. The infrastructure of the university (e.g. libraries, learning spaces, ...) and various services of the SUB are also open to them, as well as the offers of Unisport.

The participants are individually accompanied by volunteering (former) students during the entire project. They take on the role of mentors and the first point of contact for questions and challenges related to the university. We at the SUB introduce the participants and mentors to their mentoring cooperation and accompany them during the project through workshops and other events organised by us.

Important to know
Participants of the project can have their participation in the courses confirmed by a signature of the lecturer. However, it is not possible to take exams or submit papers. Participants cannot acquire ECTS credits and the courses cannot later be credited to a regular degree programme. No degree can be obtained. In addition, the following courses cannot be attended:

  • PhD or PostDoc courses
  • Courses of MAS, DAS, CAS degree programmes
  • Language courses of the Institute of Linguistics
  • all German and English language courses of the University
  • all courses according to the special list of the Admissions, Matriculation and Counselling Department
  • Medical lectures (exceptions can be clarified)

Project duration
Each project round starts the week before the semester begins and ends at the end of the semester.

  • Autumn semester: calendar week 37 to 51
  • Spring semester: calendar week 7 to 22

Confirmation of participation
Participants and mentors receive a personal confirmation of participation from the SUB at the end of the project.

Participate in the project

Would you like to gain an insight into the University of Bern? As a participant in the project "Offener Hörsaal", you can attend lectures and seminars at the university for one semester, gain an insight into everyday life as a student and meet new people.

Participation is open to people with a refugee background with a F, N, B or S permit. If you have a different residence status, we will be happy to clarify individually whether participation is possible for you. You may get in touch with us anytime.

There is deliberately no requirement for a certain language level for participation in the project. Please note, however, that the language of teaching for most courses at the university is German or English. We therefore recommend that you have at least an intermediate to good knowledge (A2-B1) of at least one of these two languages.

The costs for your registration as a auditor at the University of Bern are covered by the SUB. The participation is free of charge for you. However, we cannot cover the travelling costs for your journey to the University of Bern.

The Open Lecture Hall will not take place in the fall semester. Information on the next project round will be posted here in due course.

Become a mentor

Are you a (former) student of the University of Bern or are you interested in our project for other reasons? Would you like to join us and work for more equal access to the Swiss education system for refugees? Then you have come to the right place! Register now as a mentor for the "Offener Hörsaal" for the project round in the autumn semester of 2024.

As a mentor of the "Offener Hörsaal", you will provide individual support to the project participants (mentees) for one semester in all aspects of everyday university life. You will be the first contact person for questions and challenges related to the university. This includes, for example:

  • Support in choosing lectures and seminars
  • Creating a timetable
  • Support with administrative matters (activating the campus account, getting the library card issued, explaining ILIAS, ...)
  • Finding public transport connections
  • Showing lecture rooms, libraries or canteen
  • ...

As a mentor, you will accompany two to three mentees. However, you will not be alone in this role. We work with small mentoring peer groups, where two to three mentors and two to three participants (mentees) will work together. In addition, at the beginning of each project round, we will prepare you and your peer group for the mentoring collaboration through our Kick Off Workshop. In addition, we will organise several events during the semester and are always there for you.

The duration of your commitment as a mentor of the "Offener Hörsaal"
Ideally, you can make more or less regularly time for your mentees and your mentoring peer group during an entire semester. Each project round starts with the Kick Off Workshop in the week before the beginning of the semester and ends at the end of it. If you are not able to join us at this time, but would still like to participate, you are still very welcome to register.

You can have your voluntary commitment as a mentor of the "Offener Hörsaal" recognised by us after the end of the project with a certificate of participation. In addition, we can also have your commitment entered in your final diploma (in the Diploma Supplement) if you wish.

The Open Lecture Hall will not take place in the fall semester. Information on the next project round will be posted here in due course.

Support the project

Support us to continue the project and enable interested refugees to attend courses at the University of Bern and thus gain uncomplicated access to education and society. Your donation will be used to finance auditor's passes for participants.

The cost of an auditor's pass is CHF 150 per semester plus a one-time registration fee of CHF 100.

Donate now - Raiffeisen account IBAN CH33 8148 8000 0030 9764 0 

The donation will fully benefit the project. All administrative expenses will be borne by the SUB. Thank you very much for your contribution! 


Naima Hillman
Board Member for the Department of Social Affairs

Studierendenschaft der Universität Bern (SUB) 
Lerchenweg 32
3012 Bern

Many thanks to all who have generously supported us so far: 

  • Stiftung Mercator Schweiz, funding programme "Engagier dich!"
  • aki Bern
  • Social Democratic Forum (SF) University of Bern  
  • Swiss Workers' Relief Agency SAH-Bern
  • Institute for Psychology Uni Bern
  • Student Association Zähringia Bernensis
  • Project Neptun
  • VüCH
  • Professors and lecturers from the following institutes (private donations):
    - Organisation and Personnel
    - Criminal Law
    - Sports Sciences
    - Computer Sciences
    - Classical Philology
    - Public Law
    - Banking Law
    - Geography/OCCR
    - Philosophy
    - Marketing and Corporate Management Intensive Care Medicine
    - Physics and Astronomy
    - Education
    - History Political Sciences


"Studieren nach der Flucht"

«Prüfungen würde ich gerne schreiben»

"Wie wird hier eigentlich internationalisiert?"

"Alles was wir brauchen, haben wir schon"


Project coordination

Naima Hillman & Maëlle Dänzer

Studierendenschaft der Universität Bern (SUB)
Lerchenweg 32
3012 Bern
Tel. secretariat: 031 684 54 11

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