Breaking the language barrier – Member of Conquer Babel

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Brace yourself!  Introductory-evening is coming.

Everybody (except  freshmen) knows what is  going to happen around this  time of the year. There are many information-evenings from many different student groups. Most of them present themselves at an information stand at the Immatrikulationsfeier. But it is hard to choose if you stand in front of all these student societies. Maybe this political group would fit me… or should I do some charity stuff? Oooh… I see cookies! There are so many opportunities, but no overview? BLUG is here to help you. We want to present some of the student groups in Göttingen and we’re starting with Conquer Babel.

Conquer Babel is a student-run voluntary organization, which helps refugees in Göttingen. Somehow every student has heard of this group. I think the first time I noticed them was on Facebook, somewhere in my timeline. In the real world I discovered them at the Immatrikulationsfeier while they did some publicity work for themselves, but also for their information-evening, which was a very good chance to meet them. The event started at 7 pm in the Verfügungsgebäude and the room was packed. Every seat was taken. Cookies were passed around and the PowerPoint-presentation was started. So, what is Conquer Babel?

Conquer Babel's Introductory-evening
Conquer Babel’s introductory-evening

The student group Conquer Babel was founded in May 2015. The name is very fitting if you know the meaning. The group’s name “Conquer Babel” refers to the Tower of Babel, a story from the Bible. God stopped the construction of the tower by confounding the human’s language. The people could not communicate with each other anymore. Conquer Babel wants to overcome this language barrier by teaching refugees German. “Integration into a society, participation in a society is impossible without communication,” says Annemieke Munderloh, head of the External Relations Team. The student group Conquer Babel wants to support refugees in Göttingen with German classes, social events and translators.

Conquer Babel’s work is created by all members together. Most of them are students. There are currently 60 – 70 volunteers working for Conquer Babel.  And I think  there will be even more after this introductory evening. Conquer Babel is divided into five departments, which are specialized in different fields. Each department was presented by its head. Very international, meaning: everything in English.

The 5 Departments of Conquer Babel

Education Department

Members of this group teach and organize German classes for refugees on all levels, from alphabetization to B1.

 

Translation Department

This team offers refugees a free translation service. They translate at doctor's visits, appointments at administration facilities and much more.

 

External Relations Department

This group does all the PR-work. Keeping contact to the press, doing social media-stuff and much more. Their job is to represent Conquer Babel to the public.

 

New Ground Department

The members of this group organize social events between refugees and citizens of Göttingen. A talent for organization and creativity is needed in this team.

 

Human Resources Department

The team, that keeps Conquer Babel stick together. This department takes care of the organization of regular meetings, workshops and further education.

A newcomer at Conquer Babel does not need any experiences or even a CV. Nobody started as a professional at Conquer Babel, says Annemieke. “Basically, none of us is an expert. We taught us everything ourselves, more or less. That makes it a bit exciting. Everybody who is interested in our work is very welcome to join us.” Annemieke herself joined Conquer Babel after visiting the information-evening. At the beginning she was quite unsure which department she should join. “First I wanted to teach German. It is also possible to join several departments. Some of our members are part of three or four teams. I like to be in the External Relations Team, especially doing the PR-work. All of this can lead to you developing your competences. ”

An information-evening is the best way, to become a member of a student group. You get into personal contact with the group immediately. You can talk with them, ask some questions and crunch a lot of cookies. To be a member of a group like Conquer Babel is a very good thing to do. Especially in these times it is very important to support refugees. Conquer Babel makes it possible that even students without any experiences can help.

The information-evening is over and all the cookies have been eaten. But nevertheless you can still become a member of Conquer Babel.  You can reach them on their website or Facebook. Conquer Babel is happy to welcome new faces to their group.

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