This glossary explains frequently used terms relating to the language/integration nexus and guides you through the apparent complexities of the relevant concepts and terminology.


The Latin word “migration” means “to move” or “to change abode”. The migration of tribes or entire nations has been a feature of human history for thousands of years. In social research, migration is defined as the movement of individuals, groups or communities from one country or region to another in order to settle in a new social and geographical environment. The move may be permanent or may involve multiple migrations, with a person moving at least once to the target country, returning to their country of origin or migrating onward to a third country, and then moving back to the target country (circular migration).

International migration is the term used to denote the movement of people across national boundaries. It involves emigration from one country and immigration into another. If the movement takes place within a single country, this is termed “internal migration”. However, the same term is used to describe migration within the EU, since the EU, for the most part, has no internal borders,

There are many reasons why people migrate. Often, people are forced to migrate by political, gender-specific, religious or racist discrimination and persecution, by economic, environmental or natural disasters, or by war and displacement (flight). However, social, financial or individual factors may also cause people to migrate.

Related links


Funny stories about horses and soccer-players – read out on Arabic and downloadable as a podcast to be listened to anywhere!


Where to? 21 questions on migration and refuge


Learning German for Refugees

Arriving App

The guide for your first weeks in Germany

My way to Germany

Videos and practises for German learners