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XENOS’ History

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1984 Foundation

In 1983, imminent evictions in privately run student dormitories prompted professors of the University of Bremen to sponsor international students and set up an emergency fund. At least the expenses for rent and health insurance were to be secured in this way. It quickly became evident that the students who had gotten into an financial distress could not free themselves from their misery by their own efforts: At that time, jobs in Bremen were hard to get, especially for foreigners.

On June 14, 1984, members of the University of Bremen founded XENOS as a non-profit association. The name says it all: “xenos” means “stranger” as well as “guest” or “hospitable” in Greek. The verb “xenóo” means “to go abroad” as well as “to be welcomed by someone”. Corresponding to this idea of hospitality, support was offered not only to needy students of the university, but of all universities in the state of Bremen.


During its first year of existence, over 80 people joined XENOS (April 1985: 106 members) due to intensive membership recruitment in Bremen.  However, most of them worked for the University of Bremen or the University Library. Today XENOS has 45 members.


In the first decade the annual donation volume was relatively high, especially due to some generous individual donations (30-50.000 DM). Later on it levelled off at 15-20.000 DM, thus corresponding to today’s annual donations of 10.000 €.

Supported Students

According to its resources, XENOS can support on average about 15 students yearly.

Cultural Events

For many years XENOS has been organizing festivities, cultural evenings, concerts and theatre visits, partly in cooperation with other institutions. These events serve as a thank-you to its members and donors and also help to recruit new supporters for XENOS. The surplus of the events is donated to the funds.

Students sponsored by XENOS often take part in the program with music, recitations or reports about life in their home countries. In this way, they thank us for our support.

In recent years, this form of commitment to old and new members has mainly taken place within the framework of events organized by the International Office and other international university events: e.g. International Day, DAAD Award, Christmas Jamboré, or Open Campus.

Posters and flyers.

2014 Closer Cooperation of Universities in Bremen

After 40 years we succeeded in bundling private initiatives supporting international students at universities in Bremen. Now a staff member of the University of Applied Sciences Bremen became a member of the XENOS board and of the funding committee.

2016 First Institutional Member

In 2016 University of Applied Sciences Bremen became the first institutional member of XENOS.