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PODCAST: The big problem with the German school system and can you pass a citizenship test?

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PODCAST: The big problem with the German school system and can you pass a citizenship test?
Germany in Focus. A podcast by The Local. Image: The Local

This week we talk about train travel disruption and the new long-distance rail timetable, unemployment benefits, how the German school system impacts social mobility and our panelists try some German citizenship test questions.


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In the latest episode, host Rachel Loxton is joined by The Local Germany editor Rachel Stern and journalist Aaron Burnett as well as freelance journalist James Jackson, who covers Germany and central eastern Europe.

We kick things off by talking about a how Germans mark the Advent tradition in the run up to Christmas.

We then talk about train disruption on various routes, particularly in North-Rhine Westphalia and on some long-distance rail services. 

Aaron then talks us through what we should know about the new Deutsche Bahn train timetable coming into force next month, while the panelists also share their tips on travelling by train in Germany during busy times. 


We give you an update on the stalled plans to overhaul the long-term unemployment benefits with a system called Bürgergeld - or citizens' allowance. Plus we talk about the different kinds of unemployment benefits in Germany and who is entitled to him. 

We dig into how the education system works in Germany, looking at the different schools that pupils go to and the positives of it. We then hear from James Jackson who recently sparked a storm on social media when he called out the system for contributing to social inequality. 

Lastly, we put our panelists to the test by giving them five questions from a mock-up German citizenship test. Listen along and see if you know the answers - and check out our article with more questions here:

We hope you’re enjoying the Germany in Focus podcast. Please let us know if you found it helpful or if you have any feedback by emailing [email protected]. And don’t forget to share it, leave a comment or give us a rating on whichever platform you listen on. Danke!


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