Open Language Cafés

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    The Open Language Cafés are a space for learning languages in a relaxed but structured environment. We offer a friendly, non-academic setting to improve speaking skills through conversations between native speakers and language learners.

    Arabic, English, and German speaking groups meet weekly at Refugio.

    The Open Language Cafes are organised in the form of weekly meet-ups. We create a space for developing friendships and building solidarity networks as well. We currently offer Arabic, English and German learning opportunities and hope to add more languages to the list.

    Participation is free of charge and everybody is welcome.

      What are Open Language Cafés about? 

      The Open Language Cafés project is a social setting for language learning that works on a skill-sharing basis. Rather than being a traditional language school with a teacher and a student, it allows people to interact casually over a cup of tea or coffee and snacks. Participants are encouraged to converse freely on their topics of interest in smaller groups or with a tandem partner adjusted to their level of fluency. Competent speaker volunteers are on hand to provide guidance and more targeted learning for those who desire it.

      Open Language Cafés have been an active and growing community since 2013. Organised in the form of weekly meet-ups, Open Language Cafés are a space of exchange. It often hosts guest speakers who are experts in their topic. They give fresh input on various issues, such as housing in Berlin, finding a job, and interesting activities in town.

      While the German language café has been very useful for newcomers to Berlin, the English language café addressed particular needs in our community. Fearing that their asylum applications in Germany would not be accepted, refugees sometimes want to develop their English skills in order to increase their chances of finding a job elsewhere. Similarly, some migrants and refugees would like to learn academic English in order to be accepted to study programs. This list can easily grow: for women who want to feel more empowered, literature academics who want to keep their English fresh, students of German language who do not want to forget English in the meantime, curious community participants who just want to learn everything.

      In 2022, an Arabic language group joined the Open Language Cafés. Arabic speaking volunteers are meeting weekly to welcome enthusiastic learners of Arabic in a friendly atmosphere and engage in casual conversations.

      In addition to Open Language Cafés, Open Hearts Space runs a Frauensprachcafé (German language café for women). See more information here.

      Open Language Cafés activities

      The weekly meet-ups of the Open Language Cafés are open to everyone and participation is completely free of charge.

      Time and location of activities

      Tuesdays 18:00-20:00 English language café at Refugio

      Wednesdays 17:30-19:30 German language café (Sprachcafé) at Refugio

      Thursdays 18:30-20:30 Arabic language café at Refugio

      To join in the Frauensprachcafé (German language café for women) on Thursdays visit Open Hearts Space project page.

      Get involved with the Open Language Cafés! 

      Learn a language with us! 

      Our language cafés are for free, open to everyone, and no registration is required. Just come by! You can join all of the Arabic, German or English sessions.

      Volunteer with us! 

      We are a closely connected community and appreciate people who would like to commit themselves to work with us. Our volunteer roles require a minimum of six months of commitment and offer a meaningful experience in return. We invest in and follow individually our volunteers’ personal and professional growth. We share our creativity with each other. Regardless of background and life stage, we believe everyone has something to offer and something they will get out of the experience in return.

      Join us as a guest speaker!

      If you like meeting new people and explaining a particular topic in simple terms, we can invite you to our Open Language Cafés meet-ups as a guest speaker. Our diverse community is always interested in hearing new insights into various topics: from artificial intelligence to urban planning, from finding a job in Berlin to history of India.

      Donate to sustain our work!

      All our activities are free for everyone. We need your support for renting a space for the café and catering. We appreciate all donations, big and small and you can choose a one-time donation or set up regular monthly or yearly contributions. You can donate by following the instructions on this page.

      Contact

      The Open Language Cafés looks forward to hearing from you! Feel free to contact Ricarda Bochat at ricarda.bochat@gsbtb.org for more information.

      Read more about the Open Language Cafés:

      English lessons for refugees: Interview with Silke Georgi who runs the teaching at ImmobilienScout24

      Sprachcafé-regular Amer Khlil has written this moving story about his journey from Syria to Germany, in German, after just one year of living in Germany

      Partners

      Immobilen Scout supports us by hosting our English Café

      Thanks for your support!

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