Help for newcomers

Karl Weisel/USAG Wiesbaden Family and MWR Marketing
Army Community Service’s Irmgard Goebel leads a group of newcomers on a Host Nation Orientation Tour of Wiesbaden.

Are you new to Wiesbaden? Wondering about job opportunities or finding your way around the area? Looking for other like-minded individuals with whom to connect during your time overseas?

Army Community Service and the Non Appropriated Fund Human Resources Office are here to help you adjust to your home away from home in Germany.

ACS’s Relocation Readiness Program has a wealth of services and support groups aimed at easing the transition for service members, civilians and their Families.

“We try our best for newcomers to have a good first impression upon their arrival in Wiesbaden,” said Gigi Wilson, Relocation Readiness Program manager. “We want them to be happy to be here.”

A stop at ACS in Bldg. 7790 on Hainerberg (across from the Wiesbaden Entertainment Center) is a great way to find out about the various programs available to help ease one’s transition overseas.

Host nation orientation
All members of the Family are invited to take that first step by joining one of the weekly Host Nation Orientations — held on Tuesdays starting at the Wiesbaden Entertainment Center. During the daylong orientation participants learn about the German culture, how to use public transportation and other aspects of life in Wiesbaden. The class includes a short walking tour downtown in the afternoon.
“It’s the way we introduce them to their new location as shared by the locals,” said Wilson, explaining that the German instructors bring a local flare to the experience. “It’s their venue for making newcomers comfortable in their new environment.”

Spouse orientation
Spouses are invited to the monthly Spouse Orientation which is held every third Wednesday of the month at the ACS cafeteria. “Let ACS take care of the business of explaining how organizations and agencies operate within the garrison,” Wilson said. Although intended for newcomer spouses, all spouses are welcome to attend as there are a wealth of valuable information and networking opportunities available during the orientation, she added.

Lending closet
ACS’s Lending Closet, located in the same building, is another helpful resource for those having just moved to Wiesbaden, Wilson said. “The Lending Closet provides them with temporary household items while they are waiting for their household goods to arrive. It helps save them money by avoiding additional financial obligations.”

Other resources
Other Relocation Readiness Program resources include local walking tours which include visits to restaurants and shopping centers and local points of interest; Foreign Born Spouses Meetings; Hearts Apart Get-Togethers; and Spouse Sponsorship training events.
“We have tours that will let people experience dining out in a local restaurant, browse through a German menu and learn how to order (in German),” said Wilson. “The main intent is to help newcomers feel comfortable in exploring what their new home has to offer.

“We see ourselves as a one-stop shop — once they discover ACS, they won’t feel alone any more. … This is their Family away from home,” said Wilson, explaining that with a mix of Germans, Americans, paid staff and volunteers, the Relocation Readiness staff is well-versed in some of the challenges newcomers face. “These are people giving back to the community to help others.

“While we don’t offer official translation services, we can assist our clients with such things as German phone and utility bills, consumer information and making inquiries in the local economy,” she said.

“Our goal is to provide them with the tools they’ll need in their new environment,” Wilson added. “And everything we offer at ACS is free.”

“This is what we live for — to serve our customers — service members, civilians and their Family members. That’s our goal,” said Wilson, adding that ACS always welcomes feedback which is then used to enhance programs and services.

Newcomers interested in employment opportunities should stay tuned for upcoming job fairs. The NAF Human Resources Office frequently holds job fairs to recruit individuals for NAF jobs ranging from Child and Youth Program assistants to staff for the many local NAF Business Operation Division services (food service, bartenders, managers and more).
For more information about job fairs or Relocation Readiness Program events go to, call (0611) 143-548-9201 or stop by ACS.