Online Learning My path to Germany
Online German practice, information about life in Germany and a list of the available advice options – all of this is offered by the Internet portal “Mein Weg nach Deutschland” (i.e. My path to Germany). Numerous services are also provided for teachers.
Anyone wishing to immigrate to Germany will often have to provide evidence of A1 level German proficiency by taking a test while still in their home country in order to obtain a visa. Once in Germany, new arrivals have to wait a relatively long time before they can continue learning German in what is known as an integration course. This was the finding of a 2011 study entitled Der Übergang von der vorintegrativen Sprachförderung zum Integrationskurs (i.e. The Transition from Pre-Integration Language Learning to the Integration Course). Yet migrants are highly motivated to continue studying German during this transitional phase. What is more, they have many questions about everyday life in their new home: where can I buy products from my home country? What do I do if I fall ill? How can I find new friends? There is often a lack of suitable study, exercise and information material, however.
“Mein Weg nach Deutschland” is a free service which anyone can access to practise their German at A1 level, find information in 17 languages about life in Germany and discover where newly arrived migrants can obtain advice. Teachers wishing to familiarize their students with the portal will find an introductory film here, guidance on how to use it in the classroom and numerous sample exercises to photocopy.
For pedagoguesThere is a tab specifically intended for teachers and advisors in the navigation section at the top of the portal. A five-minute film gives them a rapid overview of the portal.
A PDF can also be downloaded here which contains suggestions and ideas about how the portal can be used in class or advice sessions. The information was compiled by an experienced teacher and provides ideas about how the subjects covered in a standard A1 course can be supplemented by using the portal. In addition, master copies of the portal’s German learning exercises are available. Shopping, living, work and professions, health and mobility are particularly suitable subjects as they already form part of the standard A1 curriculum.
A lesson plan illustrates how the portal can be worked through and explored in the classroom, either on an interactive whiteboard or together with students at computers. Migrants who have already had the chance to familiarize themselves with the portal in class will often find it easier to use it on their own in their free time.
Practising GermanThe “Practise German” section contains films and photographs with exercises, games and tasks involving researching life in Germany at A1 level. This allows learners to deepen and further expand the knowledge they have acquired in their German courses. In a mini-series entitled “Erste Wege in Deutschland” (i.e. First steps in Germany), the young protagonist Nevin has to find work, makes new friends and experiences a variety of situations typical of everyday life in Germany. The short films are supplemented by various audio-visual comprehension exercises.
A browser game entitled “Die Einladung zur Hochzeit” (i.e. Invitation to a wedding) offers learners a fun way to practise their A1 vocabulary, or they can take part in an interactive blog entitled “Der gute Freund” (i.e. The good friend): Kimo, the good friend, has already been living in Germany for some time and uses simple vocabulary to describe his impressions of daily life there. Students can communicate with him by adding comments, thereby improving their language proficiency.
Living in GermanySimple texts with lots of pictures and explanations of vocabulary in the “Living in Germany” section provide a great deal of information relating to everyday life in Germany. All of the texts are available in 17 languages, as well as in the form of audio files.
This general information is supplemented by “frequently asked questions”.
One new feature is the video series “Unser Leben in Deutschland” (i.e. Our lives in Germany): Yiğit, Riesta, Simone, Eric and Imam have been living for some time in Germany and present short videos in which they report on their lives in their new home. Each of their stories is different.
Getting helpThe third section, “Getting help”, contains information about the concept of “advice” together with specific details of appropriate advice services. An interactive map allows users to search by town or post code for the relevant advice services, immigration offices and integration course providers. Furthermore, thanks to cooperation with the online advice service of the Youth Migration Services, migrants can make direct contact via the Internet and ask their questions.
“Mein Weg nach Deutschland” was developed and implemented by the Goethe-Institut from 2012 to 2014. It was co-financed with funding from the European Integration Fund. The portal will be further expanded over the next three years with funding from the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.