About the project

The University of Vienna is offering free academic courses for individuals with refugee or asylum seeking status in Austria or another country of the European Economic Area (EEA) who have an interest in pursuing University study. The courses are supported by the  ERASMUS+ programme of the European Commission.

As part of the Open Learning Initiative (OLIve), refugees are offered the opportunity to attend academic courses and tutorials held by staff and students of the University of Vienna in order to prepare for university admission.

OLIve is funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Commission and realised by the Media Governance and Industries Research Lab at the Department of Communication of the University of Vienna.

OLIve (REIs1), which ran between 2016 and 2019, started with CEU – Central European University, (Hungary), University of East London (UK) and University of Vienna (Austria). Olive (REIs2), running from 2019 on, added more partners: the Open Education Limited (OpEn), the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the Bard College Berlin.


The central OLIve website for this and more information is: www.refugeeeducationinitiatives.org


OLIve is a bilingual programme in German and English and offers:

  1. Academic Lectures in English and German
  2. Academic English and German language classes 
  3. Creative Skills Labs
  4. Advocacy Skills Labs
  5. Youth and Women Seminars


Olive aims to:

  1. prepare students in the academic strand for further study;
  2. assist students to incorporate socially and economically into Austrian and possibly other European societies;
  3. provide a communicative space for refugees and asylum-seeking people in the academic environment;
  4. contribute to challenging boundaries in knowledge;
  5. open the University of Vienna to students with non-traditional academic backgrounds.


OLIve is part of the Third Mission-Projekts der UniversitätSoziales & gesellschaftliches Engagement

Social engagement refers to the targeted use of University knowledge to tackle the manifold societal challenges.