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Meet Ulrika!

Ulrika H.-Bartoleit has recently joined the IRC team but she isn’t really brand new, she has come back to us after 12 years of sunny life in Mallorca and we are thrilled to have her skills back on board.

Ulrika was born in Venezuela to german parents, this was the beginning of a very multi-cultural life. After spending her first 20 years in her beloved ‚Latino homeland‘, she moved to the USA to study interior design. Following her studies, she began her life in Germany at the beginning of the ’80s, first in Hamburg then Berlin. Berlin is where she started her family. Career-wise she gained a lot of experience in working at Trade fairs and congresses. She retrained as a German/Spanish language translator and most importantly became business partners with Ariane Almerood in their relocation endeavour INTOBERLIN – which lasted for 5 very successful years. But her Spanish speaking roots came calling and this resulted in 12 exciting years on the island of Mallorca, working both in the interior design and realtor sectors. 2018 she returned back to Berlin and back to the ‚Almerood Relocation Family‘ of IRC Relocation. Ulrika’s motto is ‚In life, one must always stay curious and keep moving!‘

Welcome back Ulrika!

Encountering a new school system can be a real challenge for parents and children. We would like to help you understand the basic structure of the German school system and what you and your child will encounter.

Although there is a wide range of international schools in Berlin (and Germany), often families relocating to Germany choose to send their children to the local school. Chances are you are not familiar with how the school system is structured and how your child’s school day will look.

School attendance is mandatory from age 6 and schools are state-run and therefore have no fees. Although there are private schools, most schools are state schools. The individual states within Germany are responsible for the education curriculum in their own state, therefore the curriculum can vary from state to state. After the first 4 years of elementary school ‚Grundschule‘, children are streamed into one of three different types of schools according to academic ability and in consultation with teachers and parents. Berlin and Brandenburg are an exception, here Elementary school can go up until 6th grade. The three types of school are Hauptschule, Realschule and Gymnasium, these can then be from 5 – 9th grade or up to 12th grade.

If you decide to send your children to the local school, you will be assigned to a school in your catchment area. If you want your child to attend a different school, then an application will have to be made to the city and approved, this will usually be based on if there is sufficient places at the school you wish your child to attend. Regarding language ability ‚When parents register a child for primary school, the school tests the child’s ability to communicate in German. Wherever a need for improvement is identified, the children are required to take a half-year language reinforcement course before they enter school. This way, all children start school equipped for success.‘ (source: https://www.businesslocationcenter.de/en/information-for-new-berliners/schools/)

If you choose a private school or an international school the curriculum could be very different from the German system. Private schools have varying fees and will also be subject to an application process.

The school year starts in August, the date depends on which state you live in. School vacations are staggered state by state over the summer to avoid a big rush. There are various vacation during the school year, Fall-break, Christmas, Winter-break, Spring-break (Easter) and then public holidays. Summer is the longest break at around 6 weeks, Christmas is usually around 2 weeks.

The school day starts around 8am and goes until around 1.30pm (this can vary). The lesson periods are 45min and include breaks for snack/play. The exception to this can be so-called ‚Ganztagsschulen‘ which offer a longer day. However, all schools offer ‚Hort‘ which is an after-school programme where children are served lunch, home-work help and can play – this needs to be applied for separately.

Hort is a childcare service offered by schools offered to parents for before and after school hours. Childcare is usually offered from 7am – 6pm, for parents who need childcare due to their own working hours. This is available for children from 1-4th grade, for 5-6th grade a special application needs to be made. Hort fees depend on the state, in Berlin grades 1-2 are free and further grades are based on income.

Hot lunches are also free for all children in Berlin from grade 1-6.

(Source: https://www.berlin.de/familie/de/informationen/berliner-schulsystem-im-ueberblick-101

https://www.businesslocationcenter.de/en/information-for-new-berliners/schools/

https://www.expatica.com/de/living/family/daycares-and-preschools-in-germany-107640/ )

 

Meet Josi!

Josi is our newest team member, she is supporting the office & consultant team as a Werkstudentin (Student Trainee).

Josi in her own words: I live for art and design and which is what I do all day long. I am also studying for my Bachelor in Media Design here in Berlin and supporting IRC with my all intuition and skills. I am having a lot of fun and I am really looking forward to seeing what tasks await me in this new position!

 

Kindergeld (Child allowance) is something every new resident of Germany with children needs to know about. It is a payment made to parents for each child living at home up until the age of 18. It is paid monthly and can be seen as a type of tax relief for families. Read on to get information on how to apply!

Kindergeld is a payment made available to all families regardless of the parent’s income. The amount you receive per child is based on how many children you have:

  • 204€ for each of the first two children
  • 210€ for the third child
  • 235€ for the fourth and each additional child

You are eligible to apply for Kindergeld once you have been officially registered as a resident at the town hall (Anmeldung). You must have an Aufenthaltstitel for at least 2 years. Then you will receive a tax ID number for your child/ren which you will need to also submit for the application.

In order to apply for Kindergeld,  a completed application is sent to the Familienkasse, the Familienkasse for Berlin/Brandenburg is situated in Berlin. Once the application form has been handed in, the processing time can vary but expect at least up to 4 weeks – however, in some cases, the processing time can be much longer sometimes depending on where people have moved from. Once the application has been approved you will also receive a back-payment for the time you have been in registered in Germany.

For more information please see:  How to Germany: Kindergeld

(Source: https://www.arbeitsagentur.de/familie-und-kinder)

About the author

Hi there! My name is Juli Buchanan. I have German roots but I grew up in New Zealand and I have been living in Germany since 2004. I love sharing my passion for Berlin and all it has to offer with new ‚Berliners‘ and through my work as a freelance Relocation Consultant with IRC I have the opportunity to do so.

We want to keep you updated on the current (25.05.2020) status of Corona rules in Berlin. Although there has been a significant loosening of the lock-down rules, many important rules are still in place to stop the spread of Covid 19.

Masks are required in all shops and supermarkets and on public transport at all times.

Social Distancing and keeping all contacts to a minimum are still in place, at the moment this will be reviewed on the 05.05.2020. You may meet with people from up to two households while keeping social distancing rules. Large gatherings are forbidden, this excludes demonstrations up to 100 people and church services up to 50 people. BBQs in the park is forbidden.

Clubs, Theatres and Cinemas are still closed. The only exception is drive-in Cinemas.

Sport is allowed in groups up to 8 people, social distancing must be adhered to at all times. Fitness/Yoga studios remain closed, this will be reviewed at the end of May, 2020.

(Source: https://www.tagesspiegel.de/berlin/immer-mehr-corona-lockerungen-was-ist-in-berlin-eigentlich-noch-verboten/25856090.html)

As of today, Friday the 15th of May, 2020 – Cafes and Restaurants are allowed to open again to the public after the lock-down imposed due to the novel Corona virus. There will be some strict new rules for the hospitality industry but Berliners are looking forward to getting out to support their local cafes and restaurants again.

Here is an overview of the new rules imposed on the hospitality industry.

Cafes and Restaurants are allowed to open between the hours of 6am and 10pm, as long as they serve food and drinks made on site.

Tables must be at least 1.5 meters apart.

Guests at one table must be from the same household or max. from 2 households – there is no limit to how many people this includes.

There is no requirement to wear a mask, but wait-staff will be required to wear a mask when serving.

You may be required to leave your name and phone number, it is not mandatory but it has been recommended by the Senat that establishments find a way of being able to trace guests if necessary. This data must be deleted after 4 weeks, it serves to help track and trace chains of infection if needed.

(Source: https://www.morgenpost.de/berlin/article229119200/Restaurants-oeffnen-wieder-in-Berlin-Das-muss-man-wissen.html)

Face masks become mandatory from the 27.04 on public transport in Berlin and they are highly recommended for use while shopping. Most of Germanys 16 States have implemented similar requirements. Although masks do not replace social distancing and hygiene, they can help to stop the spread of droplets and are therefore recommended. We want to help you to find a mask for you!

Here are some options for procuring masks for personal use.

Order online:

Von Jungfeld – Cotton masks plain/statement pieces, you can also buy one donate one. *non-medical

Oderso – Polypropylen, 5 or 10 pack of masks for a fair price of 12€ or 22€ *non-medical

Sew a mask yourself:

nebenan.de instructions *non-medical

youtube tutorial sewing *non-medical

youtube upcycle an old t-shirt, no sew *non-medical

While we are all staying home and doing our part to flatten the curve there is a great way to still support local food businesses with shopping and or having a lovely meal delivered. We can’t list everyone, but these are our pick of the week!

Humble Pie & Fräulein Kimchi are delivering meals straight to your door – check out their offer on Facebook or sign up for their newsletter to get the weekly update.

Chicago Williams BBQ – pick-up from 12pm to 9pm daily – see Facebook page for menu and details.

Fine Bagels – Books & Bagels, offering reading material and snacks. Pick-up or delivery from 12€, see their website for more details.

Salami Social Club – making fine Pizza, pick-up through the window at the store or delivery through Lieferando. Check out their website for more details.

Barcomis – Cake, coffee, baked goods. Pick-up and delivery possible, also an awesome possibility to support the fabulous staff in hospitals by ordering a ‚Krankenhaus Kraft Paket‚ for 25€ which will be delivered to the hospitals. See the website.

Wirtshaus an der Rehwiese – Warm meals delivered daily from 12pm to 9pm in Nikolassee/Wannsee. See their website for more details.

For more options please see: https://www.tip-berlin.de/12-tipps-fuer-gute-lebensmittel-in-berlin-von-wochenmarkt-bis-lieferdienst/?fbclid=IwAR1B1jwaCERvLy_ARDOJ_zw3Cg8b-bozCPvYzW09SHyKDJuxXo8kxuS9RnQ

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