• 12/15/2015

Jakob Nürnberger lives with refugees:

Integration in practice

How does integration work? A central question in times where thousands of refugees arrive in Germany every month. Certainly, it won’t work out if the newcomers remain among themselves, is what TUM student Jakob Nürnberger thinks. The student of Architecture has been living with underage refugees in a residential facility of Condrobs e.V. since the beginning of October. <br /><br />

Jakob Nürnberger is a student of Architecture at TUM. He feels comfortable in the diverse environment of the mixed hall of residence. (Photo: Maren Willkomm)
Jakob Nürnberger is a student of Architecture at TUM. He feels comfortable in the diverse environment of the mixed hall of residence. (Photo: Maren Willkomm)

Jakob, you are living with refugees in Obersendling. How can we imagine this hall of residence?

Nürnberger: We are living in a former office building which has been converted into apartments. The building has two parts: The students are living on one side, and the young refugees have their rooms on the other. Each floor has a large shared kitchen, where we can meet up and cook our meals together. The students pay normal rent, but they can take on social tasks to reduce the rent.

How did you come across that idea?

Quite unromantically at first: I came back from India and needed an apartment in Munich – and, like for many others, that’s not so easy. Then I came across Condrobs and applied. It worked out and I have now been living in Obersendling since October.

What is so special about the housing project?

We are spatially separated – for reasons of youth protection – but there is a lively exchange. We often cook meals together and go out for small trips, visit the swimming pool or go skating. In my opinion, this housing project is fit for the future in terms of integration: Most refugees don’t have the possibility to meet and interact with the German people – although that’s so important.

How do the students and the refugees get along together?

In our house, we don’t use the term “refugees” any more. We call them “youths” – because that’s what the boys are. Everyone in the house either goes to school or is doing an apprenticeship. The relationship is a bit similar to having younger brothers. If there’s a problem, they can always ask us students. There are also caretakers in the house at all times; they are responsible for the young people. As a student, you’re not obliged to get involved in the community. It’s all voluntary.

Are you sometimes criticized for your living situation?

Sometimes, subliminally. I work at the gate – and I’ve noticed that some people in the neighborhood are skeptical about our project. Many are ill-informed and then start to think up terrible things. Also, I’ve heard some nonsense from people in my circle of friends and relatives – mostly from those who have not met any refugees yet and only know about the subject from television. They should all stop by for a visit.

(Interview: Sabrina Czechofsky)

Jakob Nürnberger (25) is in his 7th semester of Architecture (Bachelor) at TUM. The last two years, he lived, studied and worked in India. He is glad to have landed in such a diverse and colorful environment again, right after his stay abroad. After graduating, Nürnberger wants to go back to India and work there.

Technical University of Munich

Corporate Communications Center

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