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Volunteering with Refugees

Understand how to best support the emotional, linguistic, and social needs of refugees who are settling into a new country.

14,231 enrolled on this course

Chalk writing on the floor saying "Refugees Welcome!"

Volunteering with Refugees

14,231 enrolled on this course

  • 3 weeks

  • 4 hours per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Open level

Find out more about how to join this course

  • Duration

    3 weeks
  • Weekly study

    4 hours
  • 100% online

    How it works
  • Unlimited subscription

    $244.99 for one whole yearLearn more

Learn how to identify and respond to the needs of refugees and asylum seekers

When volunteering with refugees, it’s important to understand their backgrounds, current situations and needs in order to provide the best support.

On this 3-week course, you’ll look at strategies and techniques for identifying the diverse needs of refugees and asylum seekers. You’ll develop your knowledge of the emotional and linguistic needs of those settling into life in a new country, and the role you can play in supporting them.

This course has been developed by experts from Cambridge University Press & Assessment and The Human Hive.

Explore teaching strategies to aid communication

For many refugees coming to a new country, communication can be a huge barrier. On the course, you’ll develop strategies for communicating with refugees and for building positive learning relationships.

You’ll learn about the importance of understanding refugees’ home languages and cultures and explore different contexts where you might be working with refugees.

Become an effective volunteer

You’ll explore behaviours associated with trauma and look at how to manage your own needs and responses in order to create safe spaces for learning.

You’ll also work with The Human Hive Framework and learn how to design and structure appropriate learning activities.

Unpack language teaching methods

During the final week, you’ll explore key teaching strategies for language learning. With this knowledge, you’ll develop resources to support your learners in becoming confident in using English.

By the end of the course, you’ll have raised awareness and developed some new skills to effectively support refugees from different backgrounds and cultures.


  • Week 1

    Identifying and responding to needs

    • Introduction to the course

      An introduction to the main course themes and people involved in creating the course, as well as a chance to get to know fellow participants

    • What are refugees' main needs?

      Understanding refugees' needs and backgrounds

    • Understanding refugees' home languages and cultures

      Understanding different languages and cultures

    • Building relationships for learning

      Some basic strategies for communicating with refugees

    • Round-up of Week 1 and preview of Week 2

      Review of Week 1 and preview of Week 2

  • Week 2

    Creating safe spaces for learning

    • About The Human Hive

      Understanding The Human Hive teacher training methodology

    • Understanding and working with trauma

      Meeting the learning needs of people with trauma

    • Preparing yourself to be a safe space

      How to create psychosocially protective activities

    • Round-up of Week 2 and preview of Week 3

      Review of Week 2 and preview of Week 3

  • Week 3

    Developing learners' language skills

    • Structuring language learning

      Formal approaches to language teaching

    • Supporting language learning

      Key teaching strategies

    • Resources for language learning and refugee support

      Finding and using resources for language learning

    • Course review and what's next

      Reflecting and then moving on

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Discuss key linguistic and social needs of refugees in a range of contexts
  • Identify activities for interacting with refugees
  • Identify and describe behaviours associated with trauma
  • Design psychosocially protective activities to help refugees feel comfortable with learning
  • Evaluate a range of teaching strategies and approaches for supporting language development
  • Explore a range of resources for language teaching and refugee support

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for those either currently volunteering or planning to volunteer with refugees and asylum seekers.

The focus of the course is on providing appropriate linguistic support, such as teaching English to refugees, taking into account their needs and future plans. Previous teaching experience will be helpful but is not essential.

Who will you learn with?

Previously, Teacher Development Manager at Cambridge Assessment English for 25 years, now a volunteer teacher and co-ordinator providing refugee support.

I am a coach, therapist, trainer and singer. I am co-founder of The Human Hive, where we train, resource and support change makers to solve global problems, With, not For each other.

Who developed the course?

Cambridge University Press & Assessment

We are a department of the University of Cambridge. Together with teachers and our partners, we’re here to engage and inspire millions of people throughout their entire learning journey. We help them confidently prove their skills to the world.

The Human Hive

The Human Hive provides training and support for Change Makers so they can co-create solutions to global problems with others and make a more welcoming, inclusive and sustainable world.

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Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Subscribe & save

$244.99 for one whole year

Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$89/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 16 Jun 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Sale price available until 3 June 2024 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply.

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Sale price available until 3 June 2024 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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