Since 2005, special courses have been helping German immigrants become familiar with the language and culture. Britt Beyer, a Berlin filmmaker, asks if they really work in her new documentary Werden Sie Deutscher (Become a German).
Beyer takes both a critical and humorous look at the integration courses while offering rare insights into the practical side of Germany’s immigration policy.
For many participants, the pressure to pass the final exams is enormous. Those who fail could have their social benefits cut or, in the worst cases, they could be deported. The integration programs are full of good intentions, and for just one euro ($1.30) per lesson, they are remarkably cheap. They are a way for German politicians to send the message that immigrants are no longer guests, but valued members of the community. But, as Britt Beyer says, “It took 50 years for anyone to make them this offer.”