• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Refugees in Germany 'crazy with boredom'
Economists have been calling on authorities to speed up the integration process by offering training more swiftly. Photo: DPA

Refugees in Germany 'crazy with boredom'

AFP · 20 Feb 2016, 12:36

Published: 20 Feb 2016 12:36 GMT+01:00

That includes helping to distribute meals or building bunk beds. In between time, he rolls cigarettes with others in the same boat as him, exchanging stories about their road into exile, the countless borders they crossed and the exorbitant sums they paid to human traffickers.

Tens of thousands from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere are waiting impatiently for German authorities to process their asylum requests.

Many long to return to work or college, but before they obtain residency, they have to find ways to kill time.

“I studied economics in Kabul but I can’t work here before I obtain a long-term residence visa,” said Yaza, who arrived in Germany three months ago.

At the back of the gym, a group of young Iraqis and Syrians sporting track pants and slippers are sitting under a basketball net, listening to Arab pop music blaring from a mobile phone.

Idriez, 22, from the western Syrian port city of Latakia, was trying to work out the complexities of German grammar.

“Der, die, das,” he recited, glancing at a whiteboard where volunteers had written the masculine, feminine and neutral forms of the article ‘the’.

“I want to go back to school here but I need to be able to speak German first,” he said, before losing himself in his book “German for Beginners”.

The days at the shelter, also home to 168 other people, are monotonous, punctuated only by breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Morning and midday meals are usually comprised of cheese, bread, olives and a hard-boiled egg.  In the evening, a warm meal is served.

Although children usually get sent to school fairly quickly, young men and women often have to wait months before they can start German classes.

In a nearby church, volunteers give classes every Monday and Wednesday to arm the newcomers with some basic German as they battle their way through complex bureaucracy.

The rest of the time, however, the refugees live in a parallel world, with little or no contact with German society.

Economists have been calling on authorities to speed up the integration process by offering training more swiftly.

“The process of integration like language classes should begin as soon as possible, because that’s what determines whether integration would be successful in the long term,” said Thomas Liebig, an economist specialising on migration issues at the OECD.

He believes that educational and professional qualifications should be examined at the same time that the asylum application is made, so that appropriate classes can be offered quickly.

Story continues below…

But with 1.1 million new arrivals in 2015 alone, German authorities are running a massive backlog.

Between 300,000 and 400,000 people were still waiting to be registered, said the chief of Germany’s refugee office, Frank-Juergen Weise, in early February.

Some migrants are so exasperated that they have decided to simply leave.

Since September, around 1,970 Iraqis have opted to go home.

 

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Today's headlines
Lion shot dead at Leipzig Zoo after breaking out of cage
Motshegetsi (l) und Majo. Photo: DPA

A young male lion was shot dead at Leipzig Zoo on Thursday afternoon after he broke out of his enclosure.

EU takes Germany to court for 'discriminatory' foreigner toll
A sign that reads "toll" along the Autobahn by Rostock. Photo: DPA.

The European Commission on Thursday said it is taking Germany to the EU Court of Justice because of the country's plan to impose a road toll that would mainly charge foreign drivers.

After 3-year trial, suspected neo-Nazi terrorist speaks out
Beate Zschäpe. Photo: DPA

Beate Zschäpe, the only living member of an underground neo-Nazi cell accused of murdering ten people, has spoken to the court in Munich after three years of silence.

Green party wants only e-cars on Autobahn by 2030
Photo: DPA.

The environmentalist Green party has an ambitious plan for German cars to be petrol- and diesel-free within the next 15 years.

Commerzbank to make one in five staff redundant by 2020
Photo: DPA

Germany's second largest lender Commerzbank said on Thursday it plans to cut 9,600 jobs by 2020 and withhold dividends to pay for a €1.1 billion restructuring.

Germany's favourite smoker wins battle against eviction
Photo: DPA

How a pensioner with a serious smoking habit won a years-long fight for his right to keep his home - and his favourite pastime.

Thousands evacuated after WWII bomb found in Cologne
File photo of a Second World War bomb: DPA

Several thousands people were being evacuated from a district of Cologne just north of the old town on Thursday morning, after a Second World War bomb was found in a parking lot.

Kidnapped German journalist and her baby freed in Syria
File photo of a Syrian soldier: SANA/DPA.

A German woman who was kidnapped in Syria last year while she was pregnant has been freed along with her baby, the German Foreign Office said on Wednesday.

Air Berlin to cut 1,200 jobs and halve airline fleet
Photo: DPA.

Struggling Air Berlin, Germany's second-largest airline, announced on Wednesday a major restructuring plan that shrinks its fleet and cuts 1,200 jobs.

Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
Photo: Thomas Wolf/Wikimedia Commons.

From stunning chalk-white cliffs to fairy tale castles, Germany has some breathtaking sights to see, perfect for social media.

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
Lifestyle
10 German films you have to watch before you die
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Lifestyle
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
National
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
National
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
National
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
National
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
6,582
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd