The Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge (BAMF) just sent me 330 euros because I know German. Woohoo! Ok, it isn’t really free money — it’s a refund — but it still feels brilliant.
If you don’t know how the BAMF courses work, here’s a little overview:
- The BAMF integration courses include 660 lesson hours at any of the approved language schools.
- You pay €1.20 per lesson hour (€1 per lesson hour when I was taking classes), no matter what school you choose.
- You get 600 hours of German classes, through level B1 (intermediate), plus 60 hours of German history/culture. Because I took intensive courses, I actually got through the first half of the B2-level classes, as well.
- At the end of the course, you take an exam. If you get a B1 score on the exam, BAMF refunds 50% of the cost.
In other words, the German government has a whole system for recent immigrants to learn enough German language and culture for daily life, at an affordable level. (Additional scholarships and subsidies are also available in certain situations.) In my case, taking the same courses at my language school without going through this program would have cost me €2,160 euros. Instead, I paid €330.
It isn’t a perfect system, but it’s one that other countries (*cough*US*cough*) could really stand to learn from.