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Welcome Guides

Exploring the Karlsruhe TechnologyRegion (TRK) together, making contacts and arriving in their new everyday life and career. The Welcome Guides accompany the international skilled workers on their first steps in the region to make their start easier.
Discover the tandem program for you as an international skilled worker and all the information if you would like to become a Welcome Guide yourself! 

On this page:

What is a Welcome Guide?

The Welcome Guides are committed citizens who have lived in the Karlsruhe TechnologyRegion (TRK) for several years and want to make it easier for you to settle into one of the sunniest regions in Germany. Your Welcome Guide will accompany you for a period of 6 months.

The accompaniment should not be about visits to the authorities or translation services, but much more about conversations, encounters, shared leisure activities - about topics that you like, that you need and that help you move forward.

We are sure that you and your Welcome Guide will benefit from this new tandem program.

Are you interested in the Tandem program? Feel free to contact us - we will find the perfect Welcome Guide for you.

At a glance: What does a Welcome Guide do?

Your Welcome Guide will accompany you on your first steps in the Karlsruhe TechnologyRegion and:

  • makes it easier for you to get started and settle into your new surroundings,
  • shares its own experiences and provides impetus for new contacts,
  • shows possibilities for your family members if necessary,
  • helps you to quickly feel at home.

What is not part of your Welcome Guide's duties?

Your Welcome Guide does not take care of services such as legal advice, accompanying you to public offices, arranging appointments or translating and interpreting.

Would you like to become a Welcome Guide yourself?

All citizens who feel at home in the Karlsruhe technology region and are happy to share their experiences and tips can become a Welcome Guide. It doesn't matter whether you have lived in our region for a long time or have only recently arrived here.

What are the framework conditions of the tandem relationship?

  • Duration: 6 months
  • Frequency of contacts: Minimum 1x fortnightly
  • The form of the meetings is up to the tandem partners
  • The Welcome Center TRK is always available as a point of contact

Speaker at the Welcome Guide training course

Meike von Platen-Holzapfel
Economist, Global Mobility Consultant, Career & Transition Coach

At BASF, she has shaped the welcoming culture at the Ludwigshafen site for many years. She has supported numerous international specialists and managers in successfully managing their secondment to the company headquarters and making them and their families feel at home in the region. She also knows from her own experience the challenges of starting a new career in another country and how to master them successfully.

Downloads:

Flyer "My Welcome Guide training" (620 kB, PDF)

The Tandem program in detail

Since 2021, the Welcome Center TechnologieRegion Karlsruhe has been offering additional support for international professionals and students, especially newcomers, in the region: the "Welcome Guides" tandem program. This project was created in 2021 as part of a one-year cooperation between the Welcome Center TRK and the Rotary Club Karlsruhe-Fächerstadt and will be continued by the Welcome Center TRK for the third time in 2023.

Competition for skilled workers from abroad is fierce. For this reason, it is important to actively promote the sustainable integration of international skilled workers and students who have chosen the Karlsruhe TechnologyRegion as a place to live and work. "People will only stay if they find social connections, i.e. contacts," says Petra Bender, Head of the Welcome Center TRK. "Most of our participants so far have found the program to be a valuable enrichment for both sides - for the newcomers and the guides."

Testimonials

International specialists report on their start in the TRK. Are you planning a (new) career start in the Karlsruhe TechnologyRegion? Read how international specialists from India, Serbia, Pakistan, Spain, Colombia and Cameroon have mastered their start in the TRK - five very personal experience reports.

Shital Khaladkar - Software developer from India

Our children grow up here in Karlsruhe with three languages as a matter of course: German, English and Marathi, our mother tongue. This is made possible by the European School Karlsruhe. That's why we moved to Karlsruhe before our son started school. That was very important to my husband and me, because we don't know where his job will take us in the future. That's why I'm glad that our son can go to school here.

Now that his little sister is going to ESK kindergarten, I'm a working mum and working part-time in the IT sector again. I'm also doing a part-time Master's degree. None of this would be possible without reliable full-time childcare! For that reason alone, I would choose Karlsruhe again at any time.

I particularly love the forest and the palace gardens in the city. As a software developer, I naturally also like the technical flair ─ the ZKM, the KIT... And we've been well received here. For example, one of my husband's colleagues arranged our apartment in Waldstadt. We couldn't have done better. But I have to say that we've also had some less pleasant experiences in Germany. With landlords, for example: we initially paid far too much for an apartment. Now we are members of a tenants' association. The advice is very helpful if you don't know your way around. I can only advise anyone who is new to Germany to take advantage of such opportunities. Then everyday life simply works better.

Field report by Shital Khaladkar
Field report by Shital Khaladkar

Vesna Prelevic - Internist from Serbia

During my medical studies in Serbia, I had already heard that there was a shortage of doctors in Germany. I found the option of working there very interesting, so I started learning German at the Goethe Institute in Novi Sad.

When I finished my exams, I really wanted to work in Germany and specifically applied to a few clinics. To further improve my German - you simply have to master the language when you work with patients - I attended an intensive course at the adult education center in Karlsruhe during my vacation. The Karlsbad Langensteinbach Clinic, which is very close by, responded to my application at exactly the same time. What can I say? The rest is history... After two years in Karlsbad, I can say that it was a lucky coincidence.

Because I still had to prove the equivalence of my studies, I first worked as a trainee and prepared for my exam. It was a lot of work, but it was worth it: when I successfully passed the exam, I was issued a German license to practice medicine. Now I can work as a regular doctor in Germany.

The hospital actively supported me in the recognition process. In general, I was very well received here! For example, there is also a German course for doctors at the hospital, because we are a very international team. I think that makes it much easier to settle in. I haven't actually experienced any culture shock. It's just a step-by-step process for me. My next project is my driver's license. I still have to get it changed...

Field report by Vesna Prelevic
Field report by Vesna Prelevic

Dr.-Ing. Saquib Sarfraz - Scientist from Pakistan

For me, the Karlsruhe TechnologyRegion is a gateway to Europe! You can reach a wide variety of places within an hour's drive: France with the beautiful Alsace, Switzerland and of course the Black Forest and the Palatinate. That's wonderful! And then there is the very high quality of life in the region. High-tech meets lifestyle - that sums it up perfectly!

I have the comparison. As a scientist, I have traveled a lot: In addition to Pakistan, I also lived with my family in the UK for a while, and I did my doctorate in Berlin. But only Karlsruhe has become our second home.

I came to Karlsruhe because of a position at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). Although I had a very good position at my university in Pakistan, I knew as soon as I read the advertisement that I wanted to apply. My research focuses on human-computer interaction. The working conditions for this field of science are ideal here. The funding structures in Germany are unique - as a scientist, I simply have more opportunities here. As I research, teach and supervise scientific work, my work at KIT is very varied. I really enjoy this variety.

I've been here for over two years now and the time has passed incredibly quickly. The fact that my family, my wife and our three children, were initially unable to enter Germany directly with me was a bit of a nuisance. The procedure for family reunification was quite complicated. But once that was done, it quickly became clear to us: we want to stay here!

Testimonials from Saquib Sarfraz
Testimonials from Saquib Sarfraz

Iñigo Sesar - Electrical engineering student from Bilbao

Buying a bike was pretty much the first thing I did when I arrived in Karlsruhe. The many cycle paths are ideal for me as an amateur cyclist - no comparison to Bilbao. Then I explored my new surroundings on my bike. The fan structure of the city totally fascinates me! Well, you wouldn't expect anything less from an engineer, would you?
I'm doing my Master's in electrical engineering and am currently at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) as an exchange student. I came here because of the university's great reputation. And at my university back home, the University of the Basque Country, fellow students of mine who had already completed an Erasmus semester here said: you absolutely have to do this!

Finding an apartment in Karlsruhe was really difficult. I was really desperate at times and thought I would have to stay in a hostel for the semester. But in the end everything worked out and I found a shared flat in Südstadt. Thank goodness!

Apart from that, the welcome here was very warm: KIT takes great care of us exchange students. That was very helpful, especially in the first few weeks. The student-run Erasmus working group and the people from the International Students Office did a great job. Lots of events, parties and excursions - there's no homesickness!
Once I have my Master's degree in the bag, I can well imagine coming here and looking for a job. There are simply so many exciting companies for an engineer at TRK. You can even put up with the German weather...

Field report by Iñigo Sesar
Field report by Iñigo Sesar

Elsa Martínez Uribe - Graduate from Colombia

When I came to the region, it was - as they say here in Germany? - a jump in at the deep end. In my home country, Colombia, many things are very different. I had never lived in Germany before. My husband is German and I followed him here after we got married. I got to know the culture a bit through him, but living here is something completely different.

Baden-Baden means a new start for me. Especially in my job. That's why I've been doing a language course for work-related German over the last few months. In addition to the language, I've also learned a lot about working life in Germany - about contracts, taxes and everything else you need to know. That has helped me a lot.

A four-week internship was part of the course. We had to look for a job ourselves. That was great training! The course will soon be over and now I know that I can do it. I feel ready to look for a job here.

We would like to stay in the region, because we have settled in well in Baden-Baden and we feel at home here. The city has a very special atmosphere. And everything is so chic - even on the bus I meet ladies who look like the Queen.

Field report by Elsa Martínez Uribe
Field report by Elsa Martínez Uribe

Sylvain Djikam Tchale - mechanical engineer from Cameroon

As a passionate mechanical engineer, it was already clear to me as a high school student in Cameroon that I wanted to go to Germany one day. For us in Cameroon, Germany is the mechanical engineering world champion par excellence. So I ventured from warm Africa to icy Germany in January of all months to attend a language course. An important foundation for my future career. The pre-study internship followed six months later.

In the meantime, letters of admission from several universities had arrived. I found accommodation in Karlsruhe very quickly. So the decision to go to Karlsruhe was relatively easy and the right one. The helpfulness demonstrated by many new acquaintances and families up to that point was to be surpassed. Both inside and outside the lecture halls of the University of Karlsruhe (now KIT).

I also met my wife during my mechanical engineering studies. After I graduated, we decided to stay in Karlsruhe. Both the professional opportunities and the colorful mix of the population and the great geographical location with lots of sun and warmth as well as the proximity to France were irresistible to us. Our daughter also seems to be happy with this choice.

I work as a mechanical engineer and have lived in the region for almost three decades. I really appreciate the openness of the people here. There have certainly not only been positive experiences or encounters. It would be unfair to my many German and foreign friends to focus only on that. However, if I take stock of what I have experienced and achieved, it is definitely positive throughout.

Field report by Sylvain Djikam Tchale
Field report by Sylvain Djikam Tchale
Further topics
Health
The Karlsruhe TechnologyRegion (TRK) has a dense network of hospitals, doctors' surgeries and pharmacies. We answer your questions on health-related topics such as health insurance, health cards, visits to the doctor, hospital stays, emergencies and preventive care.
Skilled Worker Immigration Act
The Skilled Immigration Act (FEG) is a groundbreaking milestone in German immigration policy that opens the doors for qualified international skilled workers to work in Germany.
Business Location
A place for new beginnings: The Karlsruhe TechnologyRegion (TRK) is one of the strongest economic and innovative regions in Europe. Do you want to arrive here as an international specialist and take your career to the next level? Then you have made exactly the right decision!
We are here for you!
Please feel free to contact us.