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Three countries, thirty students, one project

Flight for Life was financially supported by the Senate of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg. It includes project managers from three countries: Stephan Garnett (Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, USA), Anna Litvinenko (School of Journalism and Mass Communication at St. Petersburg State University, Russia), Steffen Burkhardt and Petra Pissulla (International Media Center at HAW Hamburg, Germany). Their following students contributed with audio, video, and scripted interviews to the project.

Enrica Nicoli Aldini

I joined the project because as a citizen of Italy, as well as an immigrant to the U.S., the refugee crisis touches very familiar chords. What is allowing for Germany’s relatively generous open-door policy, how can more European countries follow suit, and what lessons, if any, can the German case give to both other European countries and the U.S.? I hope to explore these questions, always keeping one underlying question in mind: there is hardly such thing as European unity when it comes to our national differences“

Enrica was born and raised in Bologna, Italy. At 26, she is trying to establish a career as a political and social justice reporter in the United States. As a reporter for Medill News Service in Chicago, she covers the current presidential election cycle, criminal justice and reproductive rights. Enrica is also committed to the advancement of women’s rights. She loves writing and loves doing it in English. In her previous professional life, she was a translator and a linguist for Google Italy in Milan.

Sarah Apel

In the first semester of my master’s studies I was one of the contributors who reported for the university`s magazine Impetus about refugees as guest students at the University of Applied Sciences in Hamburg. During the project I interviewed fascinating people with very touching stories that had to leave their home country. The project Flight for Life gives me the opportunity to combine my interest in intercultural communications and my desire to learn more about refugees.”

Sarah (born 1991 in Heiligenstadt, Germany) is a Master´s degree student of Information, Media & Library at the HAW Hamburg. She has a Bachelor´s degree in Technology & Design from the University of Lübeck and completed several internships in advertising agencies and an online travel service company in Product Management. Currently she is a working student in Search Engine Marketing at bonprix (fashion company). After her Master´s degree she wants to start her career at the same company.

Roman Azadzoy

The HAW project "DokZentrum" was one of the reasons for my interest in this topic. Furthermore my family and I have been refugees from Afghanistan in the early 90’s ourselves, hence I have an eager interest in raising more awareness to the topic of refugees in Germany.“

Roman (born 1990 in Kabul, Afghanistan) studies in the Information, Media and Library Master’s program at the HAW Hamburg. His Bachelor thesis was titled "Journalism & Trauma", in which he wanted to examine whether German editorial offices are preparing their war correspondents sufficiently for their operations abroad. After his graduation Roman wants to work in the field of investigative journalism, uncovering grievances in society as well as in the corporate world.

Catherine Barney

My background to that of many refugees is any-thing but similar. But I believe it is important for everyone to properly articulate one of the most monumental movements of our time. Many creatives, journalists, and activists are doing this by keeping the stories that circle around refugees meaningful. By collaborating in this program, I hope to develop my own role as an informed writer and educator. I want contribute to this conversation by giving others and myself reason to connect to those who take the flight for life.“

Catherine comes from mountainous Idaho—a northwestern state in the United States. She moved to Berlin in 2014, flattening her native landscape into a devious city full of cultural events and liberal thinking. In 2015, Catherine started a master’s program in journalism and communication in St. Petersburg and Berlin. St. Petersburg introduced her to the rollercoaster of the Russian language while setting the pace for her first projects in the field of journalism. Catherine is a hard worker and strives to find a balance between empathy, professionalism and positivity in her experiences.

Kristina Bosslar

I really wanted to take part in this project because I think it is a one of a kind opportunity to make people be heard. When it comes to the current “refugee crisis“ in Europe, media is filled with drastic voices – often disregarding the human factor. I am looking forward to meet real people telling their stories, showing publicly that it matters to listen. To me, it is all about creating space in the media to connect people. Not to build fences and divide them.“

Kristina Bosslar was born and raised in Hamburg and is currently a second semester graduate student studying “Information, Media & Library Management“ at the University of Applied Sciences in Hamburg. After finishing her Bachelor’s degree in 2014 she worked in Community Management in Barcelona/Spain, before returning to Hamburg to take the opportunity of working in Online Marketing Management. At the moment Kristina works in Content Management for a big tourism company.

Vladislav Chirin

There are many reasons for my wish to participate. First, I am interested in English-language journalism as long as I have been interested in journalism at all. Second, in Russia people are not very interested in the refugee issue, so it is hard to investigate the problem here. I want to witness it by myself so that I can form my own mature opinion about the problem. Third, I see so many problems that can be solved globally only. The Russian society is assured that refugees are not their problem. I see my mission in telling my compatriots that they are responsible for a solution too.“

Vladislav, born in 1995, is a third-year student of International Journalism at St. Petersburg State University. In 2013 he volunteered in the press-center of the World Combat Games and started to write as a reporter for the University’s portal “First Line” which he and his team presented at the national contest for young journalists “Pingviny Pera” in 2014. Vladislav won the first prize as best young journalist. He worked as an intern for Russian newspapers and freelance for the sports department of TASS as well as for the leading Russian sports newspaper “Soviet Sport”. Today he is press-officer for the concerts & sports complex “Sibur Arena” and cooperates with the journal “World of Fiction.”

Zineb Doubli

I have taught German to underage refugees without adult guardians in Hamburg from countries such as Syria, Afghanistan and Eritrea and got to know the tales of their dramatic escape. I believe this project is a chance to spread these stories internationally, so that everyone can understand the reasons behind their escape. I am also very interested in the cooperation with the American and Russian students, because they could share their valuable experiences with refugees in their countries.”

Zineb Doubli (born in Morocco) has been living in Germany since 2008. In her bachelor´s program she has specialized in usability and user experience on the Web. She is currently a master’s program student of “Information, Media, Library” at the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, where she wants to specialize in communication. Because of her knowledge about Arabic culture and Islam she aspires an additional education as cultural mediator. She would like to support people with various ethnic backgrounds, e.g. refugees, as a professional counselor.

Tanja Drozdzynski

I joined the project, because I believe that refugees coming to Germany have so many more stories to tell than are published in the reports of the daily news. Unless people are already sick of the reporting, I think that they are not well-informed, which is reflected by the current political situation. My special interest concentrates on the academic people who are probably my age, studied in their home country and are now in Germany. What kind of chances and dreams do they have?“

Tanja Drozdzynski was born in 1990 in Hannover, Germany. She studied her bachelor degree in International Information Management and Media Science at the University of Hildesheim. During her bachelor program she studied abroad at the University of Oviedo, Spain. Tanja is currently in her 2nd year of her master program „Information, Media and Library “ and just came back from her research project realized in New York. Besides her studies she works in the International Media Center at the HAW Hamburg.

Aleksandra Elfacheva

The refugee crisis is something going on right now so close to us. Reporting from a small Hungarian town at the border and seeing the razor fence was completely over-whelming − and I want to experience something like that again. Being communicative, I enjoy working in a multicultural environment with fellow students from abroad, especially since I do believe that we learn a lot from each other. Moreover, I would love to work not only with written texts, but also with photos, videos and infographics, thus enhancing my multimedia skills. “

20 years old, Aleksandra is a journalism student from St. Petersburg, Russia. She had internships at a local news agency and two papers covering events in particular districts of the city. She participated in the workshop on human rights and multicultural understanding, organized by the Human Rights Academy, Oslo. Aleksandra studied multimedia and world politics at the Danish School of Media & Journalism (an exchange semester); worked on projects from abroad − Brussels (investigative story on EU) and Hungary (right-wing anti-immigration policy).

Bian Elkhatib

The project will allow me to better understand the U.S. Syrian refugee experience as it relates to Europe and countries elsewhere in the world. It also will give me the unique experience of working on a project that transcends borders and lines on a map. There is also a personal element. My grandparents left their village in the West Bank in 1948 after fleeing the violence of the Arab-Israeli War. They went to Syria, and my dad was born and raised there before immigrating to the U.S. in the 1980s.”

Bian Elkhatib is a master's candidate at Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism. Before coming to Medill, she worked as a copyeditor / page designer for The Dispatch / The Rock Island Argus. Bian graduated from the University of Iowa in 2012 where she majored in English literature and minored in theatre and computer science. She speaks Arabic and has traveled to the Middle East and Southeast Asia and studied abroad in London. She is interested in using technology to give global voices a bigger presence in American media.

Viktoriia Fomenko

My desire to participate in this course is based on my wish to report on the refugee crisis without marking or judging and to show different perspectives and opinions in different communities. How do these communities cooperate in this crisis? I feel that involving migrants and locals in mutual social activities and finding common ways and forms of communication will start a dialog. Can such activities transform negative opinions towards multiculturalism into positive ones? I hope that we can show possibilities for integration using the multimedia project.

Viktoriia was born in 1994 in Taganrog, Russia. She is a 1st year master degree student of the faculty of journalism of St. Petersburg State University. Being a journalist, she exchanged professional experiences in different journalistic and educational organizations (“The 1st Line”, “Vedomosti”, “”, “DRESS CODE”) as a free-lance journalist, correspondent and copy editor. Since 2012 she has been participating in various seminars, workshops and international conferences on topics like “Media in the modern world”, human rights and multicultural understanding, or on scientific environment. Right now Viktoriia is working as a PR-manager in an IT agency.

Stephanie Golden

I have been wanting to do in-depth stories on the Syrian refugee crisis since I came to Northwestern University. I want to tell powerful stories that raise awareness about the situation, evoke emotion and facilitate change. I want to humanize the refugee crisis and remind the world that these are people attached to the statistics we hear about each and every day. I look forward to collaborating with other journalist and contribute to writing compelling stories that will hopefully tell a complete story and touch the humanity of our nation.

Stephanie is a graduate student at Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Carlow College in Pittsburgh with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications. Before coming to Northwestern University she was a reporter/anchor for WVNS-TV in Beckley, West Virginia and the morning anchor/producer for WMGT-TV in Macon, Georgia. Stephanie’s career was interrupted by a car accident that left her incapacitated for almost 6 years. She worked for the Coca-Cola Company for a couple of years, but then decided to attend Northwestern to hone her journalism skills and return to broadcast news. She will receive her Master’s degree in journalism in August 2016.

Kristopher Max Greenwood

For me, Flight for Life represents a prime opportunity to dispel and correct the inaccuracies and misinformation campaigns that have come to surround the refugee crisis in the eyes of Americans, while exploring real humanitarian and security concerns. Recent terrorist attacks in Europe are often politicized by candidates and government officials as examples of the clear and present danger the refugee crisis poses. I hope to wade through rhetoric and public fears to uncover the story of the crisis in the U.S.”

Kristopher “Max” Greenwood is a graduate student at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, where he reports on politics, policy and national security. Originally from a small Central Florida beach town, Max attended Florida State University, where he began his journalism career as a writer for the school's student newspaper. He earned a bachelor’s degree in English and international affairs in 2015. Max will graduate from Medill in August 2016. A lover of all things media, he spends his days (and nights) reading, watching and interacting with news

Darina Gribova

I'm excited to join the “Flight for Life” project for two reasons. First, since I left business journalism I prefer writing on social issues, and though I haven't written about refugees so far, I explored the topic in an academic project for Freie Universität Berlin. Second, the format of the seminar is the most effective for my journalistic work: One productive week, the interviews made on the spot, the experienced international team with different views and approaches.”

Darina (born 1991 in Ivangorod, Russia) is a second year Master student in the Global Communication and International Journalism program at Saint Petersburg State University and Freie Universität Berlin. A business journalist in the past, Darina is now a contributor at the RuNet Echo (Global Voices), The Daily Dot, Russian Re-porter magazine and Bumaga online newspaper. She is also in the editorial team at Prospekt Magazine, the media about Saint Petersburg for English language speakers. Languages: English (Advanced), Spanish (Upper-Intermediate), German (Pre-Intermediate).

Jannika Grimm

This project is a great opportunity to combine different cultures, communication and fascinating stories about refugees in Hamburg. I hope that these stories will touch and open eyes.”

Jannika Grimm (born in 1991 in Geesthacht) is a master student at the Hamburg University of Applied Science, where she studies „Information, Media and Library“. She made an internship at the publishing company Carlsen in Hamburg, where she discovered her interest in new media, children’s books and apps publishing. She has a passion for travelling and cultural change projects. Different travels made her realize how important cultural exchange and communication is and that she wants to be a part of it. She also has been living a year in Boston, Massachusetts.

Nina Halbig Halbig

Taking part in the Flight for Life course means a lot to me as it gives insight into the so-called refugee crisis from three different angles – the American, the Russian and the German points of view. It seems like a great opportunity to provide refugees with a unique voice that is not blown up by the media but tells the blunt and often harsh truth. Being part of this international communication project is a once in a lifetime opportunity I just could not miss.”

Nina Halbig holds a degree in media management and is a Master candidate in Information and Media at HAW. Besides her studies she works in an international team at the European headquarters of Olympus. Nina is very passionate about travelling and eager to learn about different cultures, languages and societies. Even though she doesn’t have a definite idea yet about where to work after finishing University, she knows for sure that the international aspects will play a decisive role.

Ryan Connelly Holmes

Reporting on refugee issues is a personal passion for me. My work for and with refugees represents a large part of my daily life. ‘Flight for Life’ means a great opportunity for me to bring my experiences to a project that can alert a wider audience to the destiny of refugees traumatized by their flight from their home country through multimedia storytelling.”

Ryan Connelly Holmes is a master’s student at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Reporting on refugee issues is a personal passion for Ryan. Prior to his time at Medill, Ryan spent a year serving as a volunteer refugee caseworker in Pittsburgh, Penn. He helped resettle refugees in their first 90 days in the United States and also provided employment training and cultural orientation. Early in 2016 he spent a week in Jordan reporting on the health needs of Syrian refugees. While in Jordan he visited local clinics around Amman and Irbid, while also spending time in the Zaatari refugee camp.

Harry Huggins

My interests have always been in telling the stories of people who feel the effects of our unjust systems, the people who live in discomfort as a result of our comfort. With this project, I aim to illustrate how the people displaced by crisis from their homes live and what they go through, as well as serving them by listening to them and walking with them as much as possible while they transition to their new life“„

Harry was born in Chicago and raised in its diversely idyllic suburb, Oak Park. He went to Fordham University, the Jesuit College in New York City, where he majored in Communication and Media Studies (journalism) and minored in Economics. Harry stayed in New York an extra year to work part-time doing communications at a supportive housing non-profit for formerly homeless people and part-time at Starbucks. He spent last year doing community development at a supportive housing nonprofit for formerly homeless people in Detroit as part of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. Now, he is pursuing his graduate degree in journalism, focusing on social justice journalism through medium.

Mona Klarkowska

I decided to join the Flight for Life project to write about individual stories. Refugees are often portrayed as a group of people migrating towards Europe, but we’re missing the story every single one of them has to tell. I am taking part in this project to learn about their situation and show the importance of understanding why people are leaving their homes and risking their lives to come to Germany. I am sure this will be a rewarding and defining experience for all of us.”

Mona is a media student at Hamburg University of Applied Sciences. In 2008 she began studying law at Goethe University in Frankfurt with the focus on media law. A year later she continued at the University of Warsaw and majored in human rights. Mona concluded her studies with a publication on European integration at the Institute of Human Rights. In 2011 she began her Media & Information studies at the HAW Hamburg and majored in journalism where she studied investigative research.

Artur Kropanev

I am sure that this seminar will strongly enrich my future studies. It will give me a great opportunity to get in touch with Germany’s culture and educational system, and it will as well improve my practical skills by getting in touch with different approaches in modern multi-media. Very important for me is also the international nature of this seminar providing insights into different cultures and different ways of thinking.”

Arthur, born in Novorossiysk, a seaport town near the Black Sea, is a first year PhD student at St. Petersburg State University, Department Media Design and Information Technologies. His PhD thesis deals with “National policy of the Baltic and Scandinavian states on internetization and e-governance and its reflection in mass-media”. He worked as a Deputy Logistics Venue Manager during the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games and gained experience as a freelance interpreter/translator and copywriter. Today Artur is working as an assistant at the international department of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, SPbU. He speaks English fluently and can read and translate German.

Alina Kurpel Kurpel

Unfortunately, sometimes the image of the world which media give us is quite far away from reality. Sometimes they show only one side of the process or phenomena “forgetting” about others. I believe in the theory of small deeds. I believe even if your voice is weak, at least one person can hear you, so it can change the picture of the world. I want to see by myself and I want to tell about it to make this picture more complete. “

Alina is currently studying Journalism at St. Petersburg State University. In 2015 she spent a semester at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. In 2012 she participated in the Project “Nano-24” by the magazine “Russian reporter”. In 2014 she had the multicultural development internship with AIESEC Thyna in Tunisia. She has worked as a freelancer for the information portal “First line”, the newspaper “Slavyanka Segodnya”, and Radio “Grad Petrov”, for which she is currently working as an author and a presenter of the theater program.

Katharina Lonsdorf

The refugee crisis has been an issue I’ve been following closely for the last few years, specifically the waves of Syrian refugees leaving as a result of the civil war. When I was living in Jordan in 2007-08, I spent time in Damascus relatively frequently and fell in love with the city and the people I met there. I want to report on the refugee crisis because I think it’s important to put faces to the numbers, to reinforce that refugees and migrants are people with stories.”

Originally from Wisconsin, Kat started learning Japanese at age 6, and at 17, studied abroad in Okinawa, Japan in 2004. She attended Occidental College in Los Angeles, and spent her junior year living in Amman, Jordan, studying regional politics and Arabic at the University of Jordan. She graduated with a B.A. in Diplomacy and World Affairs in 2009. In 2011, Kat joined, an online educational travel series for kids, as an on-camera host and producer, filming in 14 countries across six continents. At Medill, she focuses in video and national security reporting.

Pia Lorenzen

I take part in this course because the current topic “refugees” is very important and interesting. This project is a unique way to get into contact with refugees and to show their view on this subject. On top of that I want to connect with new people, to expand my knowledge of the situation of refugees in Europe and to know how the topic is presented in the United States and in Russia.”

Pia was born 1992 in Flensburg, the most northern city in Germany. She is currently in the second semester of her Master studies “Information, Media & Library” at HAW Hamburg. She finished her Bachelor studies in “Media and Information” in 2015. Alongside her studies she works in the marketing sector where she organizes the presentation of magazines at the Point of Sale.

Daria Malitskaya

My desire to attend «Flight for life» seminar stems from a wish to understand the actual reality in Europe that is compelled to host refugees on its territory. Speaking honestly at the moment I can’t say confidently on which side I am standing: I am not for or against migrants and refugees in Europe or in the other countries. But after the latest events (terror attacks, aggression, etc.) and its representation in different media, I feel a strong aspiration to form a clear position on this issue in my mind by talking with refugees and government institutions myself..”

Daria (born 1993) is a 2nd year master student of the Journalism Faculty at Saint Petersburg State University, Department of International Journalism. She holds a bachelor's degree in theory of journalism from the Altai State University, where she also graduated as a lawyer. She is currently employed for the online media «Jazz in the City» as an editor and is working as freelance correspondent for the federal magazine «Russian Reporter». In 2015 and 2016 she took part in several international workshops on global problems, human rights and multicultural understanding. Daria speaks English (B2-level), French (A1) and German (Beginner).

Nikita Mandhani

The current wave of migration and the refugee crisis don’t just emphasize on failed governance or the need for freedom, but also on the harsh reality of survival. The history of my family’s migration from Pakistan to India in 1959 has consistently pushed me to understand people’s movements on deeper levels. For me, the “Flight for Life” experience is like a pathway to delve into the subject of a refugee crisis, humanitarian aid and the struggles associated with migration. I hope to combine text, video and interactive elements to share human-interest stories effectively.”

Nikita Mandhani is a graduate student at Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism. She covers social justice stories with a focus on refugees and immigrants. She completed a series of stories on Muslims in the U.S. and went for a reporting trip to the Detroit Metro Area and Puerto Rico as part of Medill's Social Justice News Nexus

Patrick Martin

According to the UNHCR nearly a quarter of the refugees coming to Europe are from Afghanistan. I am interested in how Afghan refugees are received in Germany, how the government is interacting with this subset of refugees and how they are adjusting to a new culture. There is a smaller number of Pakistani refugees coming to Europe, but I would be interested in that subject as well.“

Patrick Martin is originally from California. He studied Civil Engineering at the University of Notre Dame. He then served in the United States Marine Corps and deployed to Afghanistan twice. He is studying video journalism and national security reporting at the Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University. In the future he hopes to report on international conflicts.

Phillip Meuser

In my personal work I often deal with social / humanistic topics and the tensions between people and the landscape or architecture they are living in. How do people live and what impacts do places or living conditions seemingly have on people? How does someone find or define his / her personal freedom and what does it cost? In the workshop "Flight for Life" I would like to accompany as many interesting projects as possible photographically making portraits of the protagonists or shooting small documentaries.“

Philipp is a photographer. He was born 1986 in Hamburg. After school he worked in the shipping business for several years before starting his studies of cultural anthropology and philosophy. The topics of his studies drew him away from just writing texts about texts. He wanted to find new personal ways to tell stories which lead him to photography. Philipp has shown his work in several national exhibitions and some international magazines. He describes his work as associative documentary or individual storytelling, as every work is based on the reality and real protagonists, but not solely within journalistic borders.

Polina Popova

For my studies in International Journalism I chose the refugee crisis in Germany as the topic for my research. I read articles dedicated to this topic, do interviews and write articles myself, because I find this issue extremely important, controversial and complicated. Therefore it should be discussed as much as possible. I hope to find answers to my questions through the ‘Flight for Life’ workshop, dedicated to the refugee crisis. Multimedia storytelling is probably one of the best ways to draw the society’s attention to the problems..”

Polina (born 1995 in St. Petersburg) is a third-year student of St. Petersburg State University, having International Journalism as her major. The first semester in her second year of studies she spent at Ca’Foscari University of Venice in Italy and established her own radio program ‘Erasmus Venice’. She successfully participated in the Summer European Academy 2015 in Otzenhausen, Germany. It was a Russian-German seminar, dedicated to the challenges facing the European Union and its relations to Russia. She did several internships in Russian mass media: ‘Channel One Russia’ and the radio ‘Echo of Moscow’.

Luiza Vafina

I am here, first of all, because the topic is so controversial. On the one hand, people want to help migrants to integrate who have faced war, violence and privations at home; on the other hand, not all newcomers want to integrate in a new society. How should journalists cover this discrepancy in the media? Secondly, the idea of combining photos, videos, infographics and text on one web-page is highly stimulating to me. The workshop will allow us to explore techniques that can make our projects more attractive.”

Luiza (born 1997 in Ufa, Bashkortostan Republic) moved to St. Petersburg in 2014 and entered the School of Journalism and Mass Communications of St. Petersburg State University. Since September 2014 she has been working as a reporter for the student news portal “Pervaya Linia”, and for the educational press center of her department, where she got an award as best reporter. Luiza also started to work as TV and radio reporter for the students’ channel of her department MOST. Luiza is interested in covering scientific issues in media and took part in several international seminars on environmental journalism or on intercultural communications.

Aruna Valliappan

I joined this project because apart from facts, figures and political decisions, it is necessary to tell the stories of those who left their beloved homelands in hope for a better future along with the emotions, thoughts, worries and aspirations that accompany them. I’m looking forward to working in an international team and feel confident to say, that we’re going to tell breathtaking stories.” that can make our projects more attractive.”

Aruna (born in 1991 in Hamburg, Germany) is currently aiming for her master’s degree in Media and Information at the HAW Hamburg. She completed her practical semester at the Goethe-Institut New York, where she conducted a research project about Surveillance in Germany and the United States. As she has an intense interest in intercultural issues, she has been working for the German-Indian Media Ambassador Exchange Program of the International Media Center of the HAW.

Thomas Vogel

The interdisciplinary and multifaceted nature of the Flight for Life project attracted me. I hope my reporting, which is focused on evaluating descriptive terminology used when discussing the Syria crisis, will contribute in a productive and meaningful way.“

Before pursuing an MSJ, with a concentration in magazine writing, at Northwestern University, Tom Vogel studied political science and international relations at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. A native Chicagoan, he is interested in reporting on democratization, post-conflict peacebuilding and foreign affairs. Tom, whose preferred medium is print, also has experience covering local politics, education and law enforcement.

Kolja Warnecke

My main interest in photography lies between portrait and documentary, social topics and finding new ways of telling stories through pictures. I am therefore eager to accompany the ‘Flight for Life’ teams and contribute to their research projects about the lives of refugees in Hamburg through my photos.”

Kolja was born in 1988 in Hamburg and spent his youth mainly in Lower Saxony. After finishing school he moved back to Hamburg and started to gain experience in the field of photography. After some years as photo assistant and freelance photographer he started to study Design at HAW Hamburg in 2009 and finished his bachelor-degree in 2014 with the work „spuren“ (tracks), which took part as a winner in the photography-program „Good prospects - young German photography“ and was exhibited in Germany, Estonia, Cypress, USA and Mexico. In 2015 he started his Master-studies in Design at HAW Hamburg and is working as a freelance photographer in Hamburg.

Raquel Zaldivar

I want to see more human faces to the crisis and I want to try to understand the different problems that arise when a person suddenly moves to a place where the language and customs are completely different. I am interested in exploring the experiences of Syrian refugees far from home with basic services such as shelter, food, water and healthcare. I am especially interested in children since, according to, half of the total refugee population are children. Overall, I want to gain a better understanding of these issues through the perspectives of refugees themselves..“

Raquel Zaldivar is a graduate student at the Medill School of Journalism, where she focuses on politics, social justice and video reporting. She is passionate about telling stories through photography, video-documentary storytelling and informational graphics. Before her time at Northwestern University, she attended the University of Miami School of Communication and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism with concentrations on visual journalism and Spanish. When she is not reporting, she loves to explore Chicago and spend time with her dog, Cody.

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