In the first part of this article, you can read about the goals and target group of ibz, the International Meeting Center in Karlsruhe that seeks to eliminate prejudices by fostering exchanges, encounters, conversation, and a wide range of activities. The center invites you to discover how the different cultures enrich our community. Well, what are the different projects that the center offers?
What are the different projects at ibz?
- Sprecht miteinander – Let’s talk
- Willkommen in Karlsruhe mit Willkommenscafé – Welcome Café
- Essen verbindet – Food connects
- Patinnenprojekt – Godmother Project
- Mann trifft sich – Men get together
- Internationales Frauencafé – International Women’s Café
- Tanzgruppe “Lasya Priya” – Dance Group “Lasya Priya”
- Transkulturelle Theatergruppe “Cumpania” – Trans cultural Theatre Group “Cumpania”
Third Party Projects
- Kuiri Kune – zusammen Kochen- Cooking together
- Sonntagscafé – Sunday Café
- Lateinamerikanischer Treff – Latin-American club
- Finde deinen Rhytmus – Find your Rhythm –Drumming
- Sprache und Identität – Language and Identity
- Beratungen durch „Freunde für Fremde“ – Counseling by „Friends for Strangers“
„For us, the mix of people and their encounters
within the projects is important.“ Eva Geerken
Eva Geerken and Fiorenza Aulehla proudly tell me that the mix within the projects works very well: It is an encounter within the projects and not a melting pot of various acquaintances. Also, there are always German people within the groups. For the ladies it is especially nice that some of the projects have mixed coordination teams. For example, the International Women’s Café is coordinated by a German lady and a lady from Sri Lanka. Moreover, the Godmother Project is run by a German, a Swedish and a Columbian lady.
The ibz project „Let’s talk!“
The language project „Let’s talk“ takes place twice a week. It is free of charge and gives international people in Karlsruhe the chance to practice their German skills. It is the project at ibz with not only the most students, but also people of all age groups. People who have already been living for a long time in Karlsruhe and speak German very well may join the group, but newcomers who just recently moved here and need help may join too. Once, an au pair girl who had just moved to Karlsruhe two days ago found her way to ibz to attend the language group.
The number of participants varies between 30 and 40 people per meeting. In the beginning, groups are formed according to the language level. Each time, the group always changes a little bit, which gives the participants a good opportunity to meet and talk to new people and make new contacts.
„Almost all our projects try to focus on meeting each other,
but also on discovering Karlsruhe, to look, where beautiful places are, where is it nice to go to?“ Eva Geerken
Within the scope of the „Let’s talk“ project, the group organizes different excursions. In the past, for example they hiked through Karlsruhe’s city forest Hardtwald or visited the Brewery Höpfner, or have gone on a tour to Alsace. This focus on meeting new people while also discovering Karlsruhe, is part of almost all of the ibz projects. The newcomers see where the beautiful places in Karlsruhe are, and where it’s nice to visit.
Eva Geerken says that most people are more interested in going places together as a group rather than alone. Therefore, the project participants have already been to the Sandkorn Theater or the palace garden – so at the same time they get to know new people and new places in Karlsruhe.
The ibz project „Welcome to Karlsruhe“
This project offers a „Welcome Café“ once a week. These meetings provide basic information and orientation in Karlsruhe. Here, newcomers get help to feel welcome in Karlsruhe through networking and counseling. Also, within the project, many activities and excursions are organized, such as hiking on the Turmberg in Karlsruhe Durlach or going to the museum. These excursions are always accompanied by integration counselors.
The ibz project „Kuiri Kune“
At the cooking events Kuiri Kune, a group of about 10 people meets in the kitchen of the ibz building. Each time, another international recipe is chosen. In the past, the cooking group has already made Persian, Turkish, Eritrean and Tunisian dishes. Each time, one person coordinates the cooking.
Eva Geerken and Fiorenza Aulehla agree that during cooking, you often have the best conversations – If you are working side by side, it is still quite different than „just“ talking to each other.
„It is nice to work hand in hand – one person cuts something, the other person cooks or seasons to taste. Yes, I really like it.“ Fiorenza Aulehla
What other orientation opportunities are there for international newcomers in Karlsruhe?
The KIT offers quite a lot of support, especially for engineers and computer specialists. Moreover, the Technology Region Karlsruhe gives a good overview, especially for more highly qualified people. Their website gives a lot of useful information for international newcomers, but also people who are interested in moving to Karlsruhe.
There are also Business Roundtables, organized by the Karlsregion, where internationals in Karlsruhe meet regularly. The roundtables are categorized by language, you can attend for example the English, Dutch or Chinese roundtable.
Furthermore, the Volkshochschule Karlsruhe organizes intercultural language meetings, a so called „Tandembörse“.
Logo © ibz
title image: kuiri kune, a cooking project at the ibz © Somajeh Cathrin Noheh-Khan