The Integration Puzzle What a Million Refugees Mean for Everyday Life
Part 5: Teaching Refugees to Swim
Jürgen Steingreber, 53, is a swimming instructor from Harrislee, a suburb of Flensburg.
Mr. Steingreber, why are you teaching refugees to swim?
SPIEGEL: How can you integrate refugees in your area?
Steingreber: I noticed that there were a few hours during the week when the public pool was available. I asked the mayor if it would be OK if I used that window to teach refugees how to swim. Most of them came to Europe by boat, but hardly any of them know how to swim. The mayor said yes.
SPIEGEL: How are things going?
Steingreber: Good, I think. Each week, 16 men attend. Everywhere you go, there are people trying to find things for refugee children to do. But for the adults, there are far fewer options. But we have to integrate them too. These swimming lessons offer the men a chance to meet us and for us to meet them.
SPIEGEL: What are some things that are not going so well?
Steingreber: There aren't many problems overall. Our community is located right along the Danish border. We're used to people communicating in different languages and having different traditions.
SPIEGEL: What could be going better?
Steingreber: For now, it's only men who have attended the lessons. All of them were scared at first, but I eventually helped them get over it. If they're having fun, then I think at some point they'll bring their families along too. That would be great.
- Part 1: What a Million Refugees Mean for Everyday Life
- Part 2: Integration 101
- Part 3: Are Refugees More Violent?
- Part 4: Frustration and a Lack of Resources
- Part 5: Teaching Refugees to Swim
- Part 6: 'A Challenge Like No Other'
- Part 7: The Doctor's Advice: Learn German and Be Patient
- Part 8: A 1.5 Billion Burden for the Healthcare System?
- Part 9: Dancing Away Stereotypes and Prejudice
- Part 10: The Midwife's Migraine
- Part 11: Germany Will Need 20,000 New Teachers for Refugees
- Part 12: 'We Need Time'
- Part 13: 'We Will Only Manage This If We Have the Infrastructure'
- Part 14: 'We Will Undergo a Multicultural Transformation'
- Part 15: Refugees at Our Doorsteps
- Part 16: 1.09 Million Refugees Registered in 2015
- Part 17: Policing the Refugee Camps
- Part 18: The Refugee Bill
- Part 19: Integration Will Be a Task for Decades to Come
- Part 20: 'An Open Economy Would Be Unimaginable without Immigration'
- Part 21: BMW Courts Refugees
- Part 22: A Michelin Star and Refugees
- Part 23: 'What Is a Petroleum Technician?'