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How to integrate successfully in Germany

Thinking about moving to Germany? Give yourself every opportunity to fit in rapidly and successfully by using the following hints and tips.

How to integrate successfully in Germany
Photo: Markus Ram

It is no big secret: if you want to fit in, you need to master the local language. If your German skills are lacking, it is necessary to devote time to learning.

Accept the idea that you are a foreigner in the country and that you will have a lot to take in, once you’ve settled. In Germany, like anywhere else in the world, integration requires effort to adapt to the daily, cultural, social, and even political life.

This is the ideal that every immigrant wishes to achieve. In order to reach this goal, don’t isolate yourself too much from local people. Talking to them is a great way of improving your standard of German and, at the same time, it is key to fitting in naturally.

Try to make as many contacts as you can, with English-speaking people living in Germany, those from foreign countries and with Germans themselves, who are very welcoming towards international expatriates.

In order to speed up the integration process and gain self-confidence, you should also take a language course. German courses are especially designed for international, non German-speaking clientele and are suitable for individual students, groups or professionals wishing to develop skills specific to their field.

They will help you to achieve considerable progress in little time. You will soon be more comfortable talking to local people as the course allows you to become familiar with the German language and gives you the means to communicate in everyday life.

Taking a German course is also an enjoyable way to meet other foreigners who wish to successfully fit into German society, just like you!

Elected best language travel agency in Europe in 2010, ESL – Language studies abroad specialises in arranging language courses abroad.

They offer courses in more than 20 languages, 200 destinations in 45 countries on five continents. In order to meet the needs and expectations of German learners in Germany, ESL has purchased the established IH schools in Berlin and Freiburg.

For those who have children, choosing a school is a critical choice. Most institutions apply the German system, which will undoubtedly help children to make rapid progress in German and to understand the country from the inside.

However, you should consider sending your children to a summer camp to learn German. As a result, any fears about moving to a foreign country with a different language will be dispelled before you even settle in Germany. It is a judicious way of reassurance and ensures easier integration at the same time.

In the workplace, the major cultural difference resides in the place of the individual and the collective. In Germany, collective success is more important than individual success. Performance is held in high esteem.

The issue of time management differs greatly to some other European countries. For instance, it is important for Germans to build up a project step by step, after having discussions with all of the collaborators first.

In order to prepare for your professional career in Germany, business German courses are the perfect solution for acquiring knowledge specific to your field of work.

Finally, the knowledge that Germany is one of the countries where expatriates integrate best – according to a survey carried out by Expat Explorer1 – may reinforce your decision to move.

Of all expatriates, 65 percent join a local association, which helps integration. According to the survey, three quarters of expatriates learn German.

Find out more about the language programmes offered by ESL – Sprachreisen online and don't hesitate to get in touch for a free quote of a tailor-made programme.

ESL – Language studies abroad (Head Office)

Grand-Rue 50

Case postale 1204

1820 Montreux 1

SWITZERLAND

Tel: +41 (0) 21 962 8880

Email : [email protected]

ESL PROLOG – Berlin

Hauptstraße 23/24

10827 Berlin

GERMANY

Tel: +49 (0) 30 781 1076

Email: [email protected]

This article was produced by The Local and sponsored by ESL

For members

BERLIN

EXPLAINED: Berlin’s latest Covid rules

In response to rapidly rising Covid-19 infection rates, the Berlin Senate has introduced stricter rules, which came into force on Saturday, November 27th. Here's what you need to know.

A sign in front of a waxing studio in Berlin indicates the rule of the 2G system
A sign in front of a waxing studio indicates the rule of the 2G system with access only for fully vaccinated people and those who can show proof of recovery from Covid-19 as restrictions tighten in Berlin. STEFANIE LOOS / AFP

The Senate agreed on the tougher restrictions on Tuesday, November 23rd with the goal of reducing contacts and mobility, according to State Secretary of Health Martin Matz (SPD).

He explained after the meeting that these measures should slow the increase in Covid-19 infection rates, which was important as “the situation had, unfortunately, deteriorated over the past weeks”, according to media reports.

READ ALSO: Tougher Covid measures needed to stop 100,000 more deaths, warns top German virologist

Essentially, the new rules exclude from much of public life anyone who cannot show proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid-19. You’ll find more details of how different sectors are affected below.

Shops
If you haven’t been vaccinated or recovered (2G – geimpft (vaccinated) or genesen (recovered)) from Covid-19, then you can only go into shops for essential supplies, i.e. food shopping in supermarkets or to drugstores and pharmacies.

Many – but not all – of the rules for shopping are the same as those passed in the neighbouring state of Brandenburg in order to avoid promoting ‘shopping tourism’ with different restrictions in different states.

Leisure
2G applies here, too, as well as the requirement to wear a mask with most places now no longer accepting a negative test for entry. Only minors are exempt from this requirement.

Sport, culture, clubs
Indoor sports halls will off-limits to anyone who hasn’t  been vaccinated or can’t show proof of recovery from Covid-19. 2G is also in force for cultural events, such as plays and concerts, where there’s also a requirement to wear a mask. 

In places where mask-wearing isn’t possible, such as dance clubs, then a negative test and social distancing are required (capacity is capped at 50 percent of the maximum).

Restaurants, bars, pubs (indoors)
You have to wear a mask in all of these places when you come in, leave or move around. You can only take your mask off while you’re sat down. 2G rules also apply here.

Hotels and other types of accommodation 
Restrictions are tougher here, too, with 2G now in force. This means that unvaccinated people can no longer get a room, even if they have a negative test.

Hairdressers
For close-contact services, such as hairdressers and beauticians, it’s up to the service providers themselves to decide whether they require customers to wear masks or a negative test.

Football matches and other large-scale events
Rules have changed here, too. From December 1st, capacity will be limited to 5,000 people plus 50 percent of the total potential stadium or arena capacity. And only those who’ve been vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 will be allowed in. Masks are also compulsory.

For the Olympic Stadium, this means capacity will be capped at 42,000 spectators and 16,000 for the Alte Försterei stadium. 

Transport
3G rules – ie vaccinated, recovered or a negative test – still apply on the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, trams and buses in Berlin. It was not possible to tighten restrictions, Matz said, as the regulations were issued at national level.

According to the German Act on the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases, people have to wear a surgical mask or an FFP2 mask  on public transport.

Christmas markets
The Senate currently has no plans to cancel the capital’s Christmas markets, some of which have been open since Monday. 

According to Matz, 2G rules apply and wearing a mask is compulsory.

Schools and day-care
Pupils will still have to take Covid tests three times a week and, in classes where there are at least two children who test positive in the rapid antigen tests, then tests should be carried out daily for a week.  

Unlike in Brandenburg, there are currently no plans to move away from face-to-face teaching. The child-friendly ‘lollipop’ Covid tests will be made compulsory in day-care centres and parents will be required to confirm that the tests have been carried out. Day-care staff have to document the results.

What about vaccination centres?
Berlin wants to expand these and set up new ones, according to Matz. A new vaccination centre should open in the Ring centre at the end of the week and 50 soldiers from the German army have been helping at the vaccination centre at the Exhibition Centre each day since last week.

The capacity in the new vaccination centre in the Lindencenter in Lichtenberg is expected to be doubled. There are also additional vaccination appointments so that people can get their jabs more quickly. Currently, all appointments are fully booked well into the new year.

 

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