Ehab (L), a refugee from Syria, teaches Nina (R), a German national, how to write her name in Arabic at her apartment in Berlin on February 25, 2016, after they met through the association "Start with a Friend". AFP / John MACDOUGALL
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In Start with a Friend, the local volunteers also help migrants find internships, jobs or apartments, or navigate the bureaucratic thicket of German asylum procedures.The aim is to also help them get to know Germany better and, in an exchange of equals, build relationships that are mutually rewarding and long lasting.The group now has seven coordinators and has branched out from Berlin to the cities of Cologne and Freiburg, with plans to also launch soon in Hamburg, Munich and Dresden.Rosenthal said she hopes groups like hers will help Germans and, more broadly, Europeans "realize that 'I don't have to be afraid,'" and understand that a migrant "is a person who is completely normal, like me, who wants to take care of his family and build a future for them". In short, she said, people will understand that a migrant can be no more and no less than "my new neighbor".
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