Geflüchtete und Migranten © geralt, human-2944065_1920 / Pixabay

Information for Migrants in English

Welcome!  This guide wants to be helpful for you to find your way  in Germany and in the County of Plön. On www.schleswig-holstein.de/willkommen you will find more information in English.

1. Language

Language is your key to Germany! You should take every effort to learn German as soon as possible.

According to „Gemeinsamer Europäischer Referenzrahmen“ for languages there are different levels:
A1, A2, B2, B2, C1, C2 German as a Foreign Language - Levels.
To be able to communicate on a sufficient level with German people your German should be B1.
If you want to study, you have to have B2/C1. At the University of Kiel there is an international center, where you can get advice if you plan to study in Germany: http://www.international.uni-kiel.de/en?set_language=en. Here they offer preparatory German courses as well. 

Language courses

  • Children and teenagers from age 6 through 18 are obliged to attend school. They learn English in special classes at school: pre-school "Sprint"-courses  and "DaZ"-courses (German as a Second Language). A list of DaZ-Centers in the County of Plön  you will find here: DaZ Zentren im Kreis Plön.
  • Adult asylum seekers have different options to learn German: online language courses (see links below),  "Sprachpaten" = volunteers teach you, STAFF courses at the local "Volkshochschule" (= Adult Education Centre).
  • Acknowledged immigrants are obliged to participate in integration courses for immigrants paid for by the government.
  • Information on German courses for Professional purposes you will find here: www.bamf.de 
  • An overview on courses in Kiel-Plön-Preetz:   ESF BAMF Kurse Kiel - Plön - Preetz. Please also seek counselling with the migration services of AWO. 
  • For students special language courses are offered by the local university: Kiel University

To get started, you have several options:

- Online language courses (to name a few):

- Regional: www.sh.kursportal.info Here you will find all different types of courses, mainly related to further education/ training for the job. One section deals with languages. Here you will find German courses at all levels in Schleswig-Holstein but also in the County of Plön. The database “Kursnet“ of the Employment Office lists further education programs.

- Local: In Plön County there are many volunteers who like to help you with your language skills. Please contact Kreisvolkshochschule Plön  and local coordinators: Sprachpaten Regionalkoordinatoren. A leaflet gives information on integration courses for immigrants: Flyer “Learn German“ Federal Office for Migration and Refugees.

AWO Integration Center Preetz:

- Language and Orientation Courses

- Job related language courses for migrants

AWO Bildungszentrum Preetz: M.A.P. (Migranten in der Altenpflege) -  Training for migrants who want to work in geriatric care

IQ Netzwerk Schleswig-Holstein

Volkshochschulen im Kreis Plön

Zentrale Bildungs- und Beratungsstelle für Migrantinnen und Migranten (ZBBS)

2. Living


Life in Germany is different from the life you are used to in many regards. Water from the tap is drinkable, you don't walk on "Autobahn", you sit on the toilet, you recycle plastic bottles, you separate garbage, you shake hands, you close the window when the heating is on and a lot more. The following brochures of local communities in Plön County will provide you also with basic information:

General Information:

Brochure for the Federal Ministry of Migration and Refugees:   Welcome to Germany

The "Refugee Guide" will help you to understand Germans and their mentality. You find the guide either in the List of Documents or www.refugeeguide.de

Helpful links on the way of life in Germany:

- Shopping:

For basic needs you might get everything you want in the local stores, but if you need special food, you have to go to one of the bigger cities in Schleswig-Holstein with Kiel being the closest to Plön County.

Clothing: There are second hand shops run by welfare organisations or the church, where you can buy clothes for very little money. Here is a list of some of the shops in Plön County.

Telefon: 04522 7443800
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Hinweis: Öffnungszeiten Mo und Di 9-16 Uhr, Do 9-18 Uhr, Fr 9-13 Uhr
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Telefon: 04522 744 144
Hinweis: Ansprechpartnerin Frau Bonita Zastrow
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Telefon: 04342 851 785
Hinweis: Ansprechpartner: Rolf Kostrzewa
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Hinweis: Öffnungszeiten: Mo - Fr von 10 -13 Uhr, Di und Do 15 -18 Uhr
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There are many more shops (Shopping Malls in Kiel: Sophienhof and Citti-Park) and there is a huge shopping mall in Schwentinental (Ostseepark). You can go there by bus or/and train (from the train station "Schwentinental" you have to walk for about 15 minutes).


If you want to use a shopping cart in one of the local supermarkets you will need a chip or a ¤ 1 coin. If you put it into the slot of the shopping cart it will disconnected from the line of shopping carts. When you reconnect your cart later on the chip or coin will come out again. You will find pictures how it functions here: Stadt Plön Willkommen English.

In Germany we have a deposit system for bottles (glass and plastic): you pay a deposit fee when you buy bottled drinks which will be refunded on return of the bottles to the local store. There are mostly machines installed where you can return the bottles and get a receipt in return. The cashier returns the money in cash to you or you can clear the receipt with your purchase.

When you buy meat products be aware that it might contain pork (Schwein) even if it says "poultry" (Geflügel) on the front. Special food (halal) can be bought in grocery stores in Kiel.

For people who do not have enough money and can show a proof of that, there are local food banks where they an get food for free. The food you get there is donated by grocery stores, bakeries etc.

List of local food banks:

Telefon: 04522 744 144
Hinweis: Ansprechpartnerin Frau Bonita Zastrow
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Telefon: 04342 851 785
Hinweis: Ansprechpartner: Rolf Kostrzewa
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Telefon: 04326 - 99 39 988
Hinweis: Dienstags von 12.00 bis 13.00 Uhr
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- Public Transportation and Driver's License

Driver's License: Information in different languages: http://www.bmvi.de/SharedDocs/DE/Artikel/LA/gueltigkeit-auslaendischer-fahrerlaubnisse-fuehrerscheine-in-der-bundesrepublik-deutschland.html

Outside of cities public transportation busses do not run very frequently and mostly run according to school hours. If you need to have a bicycle ask your local coordinator.

In Plön County there is only one line, which is connecting the cities Kiel and Lübeck. Tickets can be bought at the train station, on the internet or with your smart-phone. Vending machines at the train stations can be used in different languages. Do not enter the train without a valid ticket! It is not possible to buy a ticket on the train. Using a train without a ticket will be fined. If you buy a ticket at least three days in advance, you can make a bargain. Also unusual travelling hours offer cheaper rates. Here you find more information: www.bahn.de. A word of caution: you might be approached by people who offer "share-a-ride". Please refrain from travelling with people you do not know as they might disappear and you will be left behind without a valid ticket!

Time Tables:
Trains, Busses, Trams: App “DB Navigator” works even in small villages all over Germany (also in Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg).

Regional information on public transportation in Schleswig-Holstein:

Busses connect many cities in Europe. 


Share a ride

- Sport

Swimming  A word of caution: there are many lakes in the County of Plön. If you are not able to swim you should only use surveyed swimming areas or the local swimming pool. In the past there have been some terrible accidents with people who could not swim. Swimming lessons might be provided by volunteers. If you want professional help please contact www.dlrg.de (German Life Savers Association) or contact your local sports club. Sport Clubs A list of all sports clubs in the County of Plön you will find in the following link: www.ksv-ploen.de . In many communities asylum seekers pay very little or no fee to become a member of a sports club. As a member of a sports club you automatically are insured in case of accidents while training in a sports club.

3. Health

In January 2016 there will be a different system with a health insurance card. Until then the following rules apply. In case you need medical help: before going to a doctor you will need a special paper (Behandlungsschein) which will be issued by your local social welfare department. If you are placed in a collective accommodation please contact the staff who works there. The following document will be helpful for your communication with a doctor Gesundheitsheft für Asylbewerberinnen und Asylbewerber (Author: Verein für Bild und Sprache). Other helpful downloads such as anamnesis sheets can be downloaded on www.tipdoc.de  or www.medi-bild.de . You will find them in the documents as well.

In case of fire please observe the following helpful hints:  www.lfv-sh.de/facharbeit/praeventionmusik.html

4. Work and Education


You will need a work permit to be able to work in Germany. As the conditions to receive a work permit are changing we recommend you to talk to a counselor. Without a good command of German and without a qualification it is not easy to find a job. The coordinator for migration of Ploen County will help you to get in touch with the right person. 

Counselling: Zentrale Bildungs- und Beratungsstelle für Migrantinnen und Migranten in Kiel - ZBBS = Central Counselling for Migrants is an important agency for counseling migrants. They also offer language courses and trainings. 

Information about access to the labour market you will find in two languages on www.zav.de (Central Agency for job placement). For employers, who are interested in hiring you, the migration-check of the Employment Agency gives a good orientation whether or not they can hire you. 

Online University Kiron makes it possible for refugees to study for international acknowledged degrees: World Class Education for Refugees. www.studieren-in-deutschland.org/als-fluechtling-studieren/Recognition of foreign qualifications

In case you hold a professional qualification or a university degree from your home country, you can seek counsel to get your qualification acknowledged. Information in eight languages can be found here: www.anerkennung-in-deutschland.de

Integration through qualification = IQ-Network gives free advice about acknowledgement of your qualification. Here are their adresses: http://www.iq-netzwerk-sh.de/handlungsschwerpunkte/anerkennungs-und-qualifizierungsberatung/ 

Work in Germany

The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) gives a lot of information on jobs and work in English: https://www.arbeitsagentur.de/web/content/EN/WorkingandJobSeeking/WorkinginGermany/AsylumSeekers/index.htm

Find a job: How to find a job in Germany

An initiative of students started an online job market for refugees: Workeer

You will find many more online job markets in www.bewerberdschungel.com.

In case you need further qualification: IQ-Network, Schleswig-Holstein Kursportal, Kursnet.

Volunteer Work

There are many people who will help you, but maybe you want to give something in return?
At the “Freiwilligencenter im Kreis Plön” they match people who want to commit themselves on a voluntary basis with people who need voluntary help. Whatever you are good at: it might be needed by somebody else. Just try! You won’t get paid, but you might gain new friends. www.freiwillig-im-kreis-ploen.de.

More helpful links:

www.howtogermany.com: General guide to life in Germany with information from A-Z:
Watch out: you have to scroll till the end of the page before you can read the answer to your click in the alphabetical list.

Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs: www.bmas.de

www.justlanded.com provides you with basic information on Germany in several languages.
www.make-it-in-germany.com provides information for professionals and companies

More information on the situation in Schleswig-Holstein you will find on www.willkommen.schleswig-holstein.de (official page of the government of Schleswig-Holstein)


5. Housing

The brochuere "Welcome to Germany" of the Federal Office for Migrants and Refugees contains a lot of information on living in Germany.

Water: Tap water in Germany is drinkable. The quality is controlled on a regular basis. You do not have to buy bottled water.

Heating: If you like to have it warm please consider that energy costs a lot of money. Warm clothes and blankets can help to reduces energy costs. Please do not heat while the windows are open.

Garbage disposal: in Germany we recycle our waste. Therefore it is necessary to separate the waste (paper, plastic, glass, organics etc.). Here you find waste separation in pictures.

House rules: Living together works better if everybody accepts certain rules.

Inhouse ventilation: Even if it gets cold for some time you should air your rooms regularly by opening the windows so that fresh air can stream in. This is the best protection against humidity and its consequences. Mold can be the cause of all kinds of health problems.

Cooking: depending on your cultural background you might never have seen a stove before. Please ask for explanation of your stove. You should never cook without a pan directly on a cooking plate.

Furniture: Used furniture can be bought for little money at ProCell in Preetz or Möbellager Kirchenkreis Plön-Segeberg. Also on the internet (Ebay Kleinanzeigen) or in the local newspaper you might find used furniture which does not cost a lot.

Licence fee for citizens: almost every household in Germany has to pay a licence fee for public service broadcasting. When you move into a new apartment you will automatically receive a letter which tells you that you have to pay this fee. Everybody who moves into a new apartment will receive this letter. But not all citizens have to pay this fee. Asylum seekers do not have to pay the fee, but you need to apply for that. In case you receive asylum benefits please adress yourself to you local coordinator. He or she will help you. Here you find information in different languages: www.rundfunkbeitrag.de. You will find it also it here: Documents in English.

6. Counselling and Assistance

In case of an emergency call 110 (Police) or 112 (Ambulance).

Counselling and Assistance takes places on different levels:

- Volunteer help:

A word about volunteer help: what is called “Ehrenamt” in Germany may be known to you as “neighbourhood assistance”. It is amazing how many German people are willing to help. In many communities in Plön County are local initiatives. People will help you on a voluntary basis without getting paid. They like to help you with language, daily life, visits to official institutions etc. The local coordinators in each town or community have an overview. You can find an overview in Local Activities.

- Institutional help:

1. Local Assistance and Coordination: Each town and community in the County of Plön employs a local coordinator for the support of refugees. They have an overview on local activities (language courses, leisure activities and a lot more). They will help you to contact volunteers and institutional advisors.

2. Advice centers: Depending on your personal need there are different advice centers in the County of Plön. The most important advice center for you is AWO Integrationscenter Preetz. They offer counsel for migrants in these languages: German, English, Russian, Arabic. If you need further counselling they will help you to contact the right institution. Here you will find a flyer by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees: lassen-sie-sich-beraten eng.

3. Advice centers outside of Plön County:

- In case you consider to return to your home country you can get advice by Centrum für internationale Migration und Entwicklung (CIM) durchgeführt.

- In case you have lost family members German Red Cross (DRK Suchdienst) will help you. They offer information in English, French, Spanish and Arabic. 

Network: Kieler Auslandsgesellschaften (Migrant Organisations)

List of advice centers in Plön County and kiel

In case you have any additions to this page please mail to international@kreis-ploen.de. Thank you!

Telefon: 04522 50 51 29
Fax: 04522 50 59 91 29
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Telefon: 04522 78 96 778
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Telefon: 04342 7879011
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Telefon: 0431 2050 95 24
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Telefon: 04342 7879 020
Telefon: 04522 505 129
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