At first many things are unfamiliar: the sounds, the people, the language, the authorities, the laws and the values. Most people find it difficult to immediately get their bearings in a foreign country. Newcomers to Germany are supported by many different authorities, initiatives, ministries, foundations and associations. Two new digital offerings make it easier for new arrivals, especially refugees, to settle in and find their place in Germany.
A smartphone app called “Ankommen” was developed by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), the Goethe-Institut, the Federal Employment Agency (BA) and Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR). The service and study app provides all the important facts that refugees need: information about the asylum procedure, about school, vocational training and work as well as advice on values and life in Germany. A multimedia German language course is also integrated into the app. The free app is provided in the Arabic, English, Farsi, French and German languages and once downloaded it is also usable without Internet access. It is already available for smartphones that use the Android operating system and will soon also be available for iOS.
Refugees and other interested parties will find a mixture of information and entertainment on the website at www.WDRforyou.de, which has been launched by Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR). The service is available in Arabic, English, Farsi and German. It covers four thematic areas: News & Documentaries, Information about Germany, Sports & Entertainment and Kids. Refugees are also involved in the website: for example, its contributors include the Iranian graphic artist Ali Chakav and successful Syrian writers like Monis Bukhari.