I arrived in the evening of the 13th of August and was met by another Finnish volunteer who is also working on the project. Shortly after we met 3 more German volunteers who we would be working and living together with for the next 11 months. The flat is very closely situated to the 3 schools that we will be working with and I was very impressed by the efforts of the community here to renovate and equip the flat in order to help make us all feel comfortable. Unfortunately we were not able to receive the internet in the flat until 1 ½ months into the project, but we found ways to keep ourselves busy (most notably, attempting to understand all of the American/ British television series which were dubbed in German, let alone German T.V =P).
I am beginning to make many new friends around here with people from the youth centre, the other volunteers, the teachers and the students. Although some of these friendships will take a while to form it seems that they will be long lasting.
The work we have been given here, at times, has not seemed like a lot. We have been sharing it together between the 5 of us. However, I think as we start to find our feet’s better, the work load will start increasing.
The tasks I have done so far include:-
- Making a photo chart of all the teachers.
- Supervising at break times and in the library has given me a chance to meet and talk to the students and also the librarian, who does not speak English ;)
- Currently I am helping to create archaeology workshops and an English language conversation group with the teachers. I am also working with a German volunteer to create a cooking group.
- have translated some documents and started working to find more partners for the school’s youth exchange programme.
- I have attended a first aid course and a church ceremony! (at the beginning of the year to welcome the 5th graders on their first day at school)
- And best of all, I have assisted on two school trips. One week in the Harz getting to know the 6th graders and one week in Sweden getting to know the 10th graders.
I soon expect that my level of German will increase rapidly. I am taking a course that runs two times a week, when my German language level increases I will find it much easier to work and live in this society.
I have been very happy with the level of support and hospitality that I have received from my host organization to help me branch out and find new activities and people. I was especially impressed when all the staff sung me happy birthday which was co-ordinated in a choir by a music teacher during a staff meeting!