My Path to Germany – the web portal to help with the transition
The website “Mein Weg nach Deutschland” or “My Path to Germany” (www.goethe.de/mwnd) was set up primarily for people who want to emigrate to Germany and exercise their right to family reunification, or those who have already travelled here and who had to evidence basic German language skills already back in their country of origin in order to obtain a visa. Following a successful evaluation in 2014, a second project phase, part-financed by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) is being run, lasting from 2015 to 2018, which provides more comprehensive information about the German school system and its vocational education system [professional training] and which also covers the topic of “Working in Germany”.
New immigrants arriving from third countries often do have some initial professional experience already or they would like to gain some. However, what this target group frequently does not have, is any idea of how the German school and vocational education system work and how the German job market operates – factors which are fundamental for being successful in one’s job search. In order to strengthen both parental and job-related competences the existing website “Mein Weg nach Deutschland” is now getting bigger and more inclusive in its second project phase as further information sections are being added. These add-ons include information about the German school and vocational education system, about professional certifications and also about the particularities of the German world of work; the information aims at making it easier to access available federal funding and at improving applicants’ chances of getting this funding, which in turn should make it easier to gain entry into the labour market.
Within the context of the current refugee influx the website is now also going to include the target group ‘refugees’. Their frequently asked questions and needs are for the most part identical with those of regular immigrants. However, where this group requires additional information, extra text has been added to answer their vital questions.
The section “Practise German” offers a variety of lessons to achieve the Language Level A1. Of special relevance here:
- Mini series “First steps in Germany“: this series shows everyday challenges, which immigrants are facing during their first few months in Germany. Visual and listening comprehension is further promoted through accompanying exercises.
- Twelve guided research exercises enable especially those not familiar with the use of the Internet to find their way around the website and to find the information they are looking for.
Living in Germany
The section “Living in Germany” offers practical tips for everyday life, such as ‘going shopping’, ‘housing’ or ‘living with children’. All the information is written in simple German, i.e. at a level that is no more difficult than A1; any difficult words are explained by way of tooltips and are also listed separately once again in the glossary.
The choice of information topics has been translated into the target group’s 20 most common languages of origin. Recent newly added languages are Indonesian and Korean, as well as Kurdish (Kurmanji) and Tigrinya. The aim is to further improve the information on German culture and life as well as to improve our advisory function so that we are better able to increase participation in learning – whether it is regular immigrants from third countries or refugees!
The section “Finding Help” provides information on the general concept of advice and also gives concrete tips on where migrants can go to get help in Germany. Here we are working in close cooperation with the Jugendmigrationsdienst or Youth Migration Service, whose online advisory service we are pointing towards; there is also a direct web link to their website.
A couple of interactive maps show, in addition to the advisory centres and organisations that offer integration courses, also an overview of local refugee initiatives and help groups in the country.
For Teachers and Advisors
So as to make the website easy to use for teachers, advisors and interested visitors, there is a 5-minute introductory video at the end of this section that gives a quick overview of the website. A PDF download offers further concrete tips and has master copies for use of the website information in lessons or advice sessions.
The website address is: