Eight months have passed since I arrived in Germany and it has been quite easy to identify that it is a multicultural country which has approximately 83.1 million inhabitants, it is the country with the largest population in the European Union. Many languages can be heard in its streets and at first sight, religions and traditions coexist peacefully together.
Since the Second World War, Germany has received many migrants, making it the second country with the highest percentage of migration after the United States; approximately 21.2 million people have their origins in foreigin countries. A fact that seemed super interesting to me is that every eighth wedding in Germany is a multicultural wedding. In other words, one person has a German passport but the other does not. German-Turkish relations are the most common, followed by German-Italian relations (Berlin Institute, 2021).
It is not a secret that many people from the European Union come to work in Germany, the salaries in many cases are better than in the countries of origin. Especially qualified professionals such as engineers, doctors, nurses are the people who decide to emigrate . Germany is a country that needs a lot of qualified labor and that is why its migration policies are liberal. It is a country that depends on migration since it will mark its future with demographic changes.
Germany defines itself as a “multi / kulti country, however, there have been certain occasions in which German politicians who are the public image of the country, have had unfortunate statements referred to migration as was the case of Angela Merkel who said:
"Anyone who does not speak German immediately is not welcome."
This situation makes me wonder if foreigners in this country really feel integrated. That fact, that Germany is a "multicultural" country; in which many cultures live, does not mean that it is an "intercultural" country, that is, where different cultures interrelate, enrich each other and leave all the prejudices behind.
In my view Germany is more intercultural than Spain for instance, since here more people of other ethnic origins are seen in public spaces, in jobs facing the public, they are visible. Personally speaking, since living here I have been very few times asked where I am from, and many people think that I speak German, although I am just learning the B1 level. I feel that in a superficial way I am accepted, but on a deeper level, I consider that getting to connect with a person from this country is a bit complicated.
In Germany there are different debates about migration, according to some surveys, approximately 50% of Germans have some racist comment towards impoverished or "non-white" migrants. In different polls it has become clear that more than half of Turks feel rejected by the host society. What's more, 51% of Germans think that people of Turkish origin neither want not are able to integrate (BCC, 2010)
One thing that caught my attention were the integration courses, which many people suggested that I should do . According to their opinion it is the best place to learn German, these courses are usually offered to new migrants, refugees , direct relatives of Germans, etc. It has a duration of 630 hours during which you learn German, history, culture, and political system. At first glance it seems very interesting and the ideal place to learn this language and the best the possibility of integrating into society, however, a recent study seems to indicate that work experience in Germany is a more important factor than language at the time to find a job (Ticona, T. 2010)
Therefore, it would be beneficial if, together with the German courses, programs would be designed that help immigrants to obtain more work experience in the country, such as volunteering, internships, coexistence, etc. in which they have the possibility of putting into practice what they have learned in school and at the same time getting to know the culture in a better way.
There are many ways to learn languages and not always the best way is to go to an integration course that is part of the formal education, where its methodology is not always adapted to all people's circumstances, where many of them have had insufficient training in their countries of origin. German formal education has other types of educational standards, and these enter contradiction and hinder the integration process.
My question is, why is it not better to combine all types of education? (formal, non-formal, and informal) and make them mutually inclusive, instead of being exclusive and having as the only evaluation method the exams, so maybe it can get people to know the culture from all ways of life and let Germany truly become an intercultural nation.
Education is the key to success, but it will only be possible if it is a quality education, inclusive and free, not exclusive and for very few privileged as it is today.