Please be prepared that potentially not everything might go smoothly and that your guests might not arrive on time. The German understanding of punctuality is not observed in every country. It might also occur that your guests do not find the way to your home. Therefore, it would be great if you could arrange the arrival of your guests via phone. It might be the best idea to pick up your guests from the next bus stop.
It might occur that your guests will not eat certain foods due to cultural and religious reasons. During the registration process, we have already asked your dinner guests for their food preferences but please feel free to check again when you contact them. Halal foods are allowed to eat according to Islamic law. Officially, alcohol is forbidden. Halal meat is only allowed when it bears a halal sign. However, many Muslims do not follow these rules very strictly and eat everything except pork. As said, feel free to check with your guests again.
Tip: You will be on the safe side when you cook without meat and alcohol – that is definitely halal.
Some guests will eat very little. They might be very cautious not to eat too much. In some cultures it is also customary that the host asks two or three times whether the guest would like a second serving. Who says yes the first time, is considered unkind.
A Welcome Dinner is also a small cultural adventure because many cultures have different traditions and rules than we are used to. For example, in most Arabic countries it is unusual that men and women have physical contact. They also do not shake hands. If in doubt, please ask to be sure to avoid potential misunderstandings.
Here are some ideas to start a conversation, should you find it hard due to language barriers:
- Ask for photos and show some yourself.
- Let your guests show you on a globe or in an atlas where they come from and how they came to Lüneburg. But please be considerate, some guests might prefer to not speak about that topic.
- Play your favourite music or show some of your hobbies.
- Play a board game where no language is required, for example Jenga, Mikado or Memory.
- Please bear in mind: Many refugees are traumatised. Please be sensitive with topics such as the conflicts in their home countries and their experiences during their flight.
With your personal Welcome Dinner you contribute to making refugees and migrants feel at ease in our country. This is a big contribution. Yet, you are not responsible for your guests. Many questions regarding, say, asylum procedures and language course are complex and you might not be able to answer them. For questions like this, please give your guests the following contacts.
“Solidarity with migrants” (“Solidarität mit MigrantInnen”)
Every first Wednesday of the month from 5pm onwards
Infocafé Anna & Arthur
Katzenstr. 2, 21335 Lüneburg
Telephone: 04131 – 41 094
Refugee Council Lower Saxony (Flüchtlingsrat Niedersachsen)
Telephone support line: 05121 – 15605
Monday to Friday: 10am – 12.30pm
Tuesday to Thursday: 2pm – 4pm
How it continues
We hope you had a great time together! Feel free to post photos on Facebook if that is okay for your guests or give us your feedback and mail the photos to us. Everything else is up to you: You could meet again, eat together, go for a walk together, … or do not do anything at all. After your Welcome Dinner, you have no further obligations.