Friday, October 20, 2006

My frustrating time with integration course

I started german class on Thursday - its an integration course that I was told is COMPULSORY for all foreigners. Its basically a 6-mths intensive german course, complete with a 30 hour orientation program at the end of it and a certificate Deutsch (one of the qualifications for the german language). Nothing wrong with that, except that I actually wanted to go for something more "studious", since I´ve gone to the university and I study better in a "studying" environment.

I didn´t want to go for something that people go for because its "compulsory" and end up being in a class where nobody wants to really learn and I don´t end up learning in an environment that is not condusive for me. Plus, this school is really slow in their administration stuff. We enrolled for the course in early sept and they told us that I was accepted, but Stephan had to call them like 8 times to tell them to send the enrollment form, which they only sent to us like 1 day before the class started (which was like more than a month later).

Anyways, I went ahead with my first class on Thurs. I actually started in the 3rd month (out of 6 months), even though my entrance exam said that I qualify to start in the 4th month - since I´ve had prior knowledge of german. I thought better be safe than sorry... cos if it turns out that 4th month was tougher than I expected, I would be in a situation where I would have to wait another few months before the next integration course starts. This school is a basic language school which offers language programs for different languages, not just german.

Well, so thurs - wat happened? I realized that the class had abt 17 ppl (compared to the 10 ppl that I had in goethe-institute in singapore) and the classroom was mega tiny and caustrophobic. I was mega bored in class because the teacher was going through stuff that I learnt about 1 year ago! I have had 1.5 yrs of german... and 0.5 year was in the university, 1 yr in goethe while I was working. And honestly, its really exactly what this german teacher (that I met about 2 months ago) told me that it would be like. She said from her own experience in teaching integration courses, its very tough for a person who´s gone through proper education to enjoy learning in integration course. She actually was the one who recommended me to go for an intensive course in a renouned school instead.

So, I went to the receptionist and asked if I could start in the 4th month instead, instead of sitting through 1 whole month... 5 hrs each day, 20 hrs each week, 80 weeks the entire month for elementary stuff that I´ve learnt 1 year ago! But NO, she refused to let me start the next month saying that since the government was subsiding part of the course, I need to follow the regulation and stick with the 3rd month! I was like what??? That´s so utterly ridiculous!

Plus, the worse thing is that I think this integration course is a whole crap! My friend who´s from Indonesia and who came to germany 1 month before me does not have to do the integration course even though she doesn´t speak a word of german! She and I have exactly the same visa requirements and there is no reason why I have to do a compulsory course and she doesn´t?!? It turns out that apparently I probably got a person at the government who was having a bad day at work and simply just stamped on my passport that I have to go for an integration course and my friend apparently escaped from that.

So, I decided maybe I should enroll in another "proper" school... to do an intensive german course (which is better than the integration course), but for which I would have to pay the entire course fee instead of the subsidised fee. This is like a school similar to Goethe which I studied in in Singapore. So, on thursday, after 4 hrs of boring integration course, I sat through 1.5 hrs of exam to say that I would be admitted to a course which I would take 2 months to get the certificate, instead of 4 months - in the integration course. I thought I would go for this school instead, since I honestly feel that the teachers are more motivated and the learning environment is more condusive. Plus, I was really frustrated with the other language school.

My hubby then went to tell the integration course sch that I wanted to withdraw and guess wat? They wanted me to pay 100€ (for the first month) even though I was only there for 1 day??!???

So my hubby tried calling the government (the overseeing authority in germany) which told him that they have NO IDEA about this integration course and that he should call the federal state (which is the authority over the area where we stay). When he called the federal state, they said that they have no authority to change anything and he had to call the government. So as u can imagine, we were going on a wild goose chase, with nobody knowing wat to do and nobody wanting to tell anybody what to do.

As it is now, it looks like I have to sit through the entire integration course cos there seems to be no way out and I wouldn´t want to pay 100€ just for 1 day of "sch" which I already knew what they were talking about. Besides, if I went ahead to Goethe institute in germany (which is the best language sch in germany but which DOES NOT offer integration course) and even if I get the same certification as the integration course, I might still face the situation where I might not be able to get my PR at the end of 1 or 3 years because the federal republic says that I didn´t do the integration course!

This is really the first time in my life I´m facing the crap of bureaucracy and honestly, I think foreigners are like treated like second-class citizens here. It´s just frustrating to be at the receiving end of bureaucracy. I know that every country has their faults, but I never had to deal with governmental issues in a way that I have no explanation for what is happening, nobody knows what is the actual rule, nothing is written in black and white and people are just saying different stuff.

Really need God to help me through this situation. There has got to be a reason why all this is happening.


Steph said...

Hang in there Pris. There must be a good reason why you have to do this integration course even though its stuff u know already...tryto see the positive side...maybe there's someone you are meant to meet there ?
Bureucracy also rampant here in France sadly...can tear yr hair out sometimes but what you can't change just try to accept it lor cos otherwise you will never be at peace.
Lord grant me the serenity to accept things I cannot change
the courage to change things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.

Priscilla Tews said...

Hi Steph

Thanks for yr words of encouragement. Really really appreciated. Always good to know someone who has been there done that kinna thing..... Yah, I need to allow God to work out His purposes. Sometimes, still feel frustrated, but I guess that´s the whole point of struggling with God. Thanks again!

Serene said...

Hi pris, serene, your cousin, here. Sad to hear about this. All i can say is you are lucky, atless you have your hubby there with you and know what to do. I have friends that go oversea alone, when things happen. They are helpless... Thank GOD for that.Pray for you always.
Love Serene


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