My ESC in Jena, Germany

Days before my arrival in Jena: The week before my arrival in Jena I had a lot of worries, doubts and nerves. How would be the new routine in another country? Would I adapt well to new languages and a new culture? With whom would I share this year? Besides the fact that you have to say goodbye to your family and friends.

Arrival in Jena: All those doubts that I mentioned earlier, I dissolved them little by little in the first weeks of being in Jena. For me it was a good sign that I only got off the bus on the first day, I could find other volunteers and some Eurowerkstatt members waiting for me and they also came with me to show the house where I would live. Then, thanks to the first month in which we were not yet going to our projects, but had a month of orientation to get to know the city, the language and the projects of others, I had more confidence on myself and in the year ahead.

Getting to know my new city: Jena is a small city but has great charm and has everything you need. Walking through these streets, from the first moment, transmitted me a lot of calm and joy, the colours and contrasts of his architecture and the little traffic are a great point of Jena. Besides, it is a city that is totally surrounded by nature where you can go for a walk in the mountains, you can swim in the river or you can simply have a picnic on the top of the mountain or next to the river. And not because it is a small city, it is a city with little life, on the contrary, Jena is a city where you always have things to do, from movies and cultural events, to beautiful places to take anything, places that become even more beautiful in summer, thanks to the good weather.

Living together with the other volunteers: As I mentioned before, this was one of the doubts before I came to Jena, because living far away from the people who have always supported you can be complicated. But as the weeks went by, it was very lucky to meet all the other volunteers.  It is a great opportunity to learn a thousand things about other cultures. It is not easy at first, because everyone has their own habits, but over time we made a great group, of which I take very good friends and many shared moments.

New language, new people: I arrived in Germany knowing no German and very little English, it was a challenge for me. Little by little and thanks to the need to express yourself in another language that you do not know, it makes you strive to learn it. It is not easy to express your feelings and thoughts in a language that is not your mother tongue. But the truth is that all the people I have met during this year have helped me and encouraged me to continue learning and growing. People with a very open mind and willing to help. Currently, thanks to this year I have notably improved my level of English and I have learned a little bit of German.

Eurowerkstatt: From my point of view, this is one of the best organizations where to carry out this adventure. From the first moment, they are willing to help you in any way necessary and make things easier for you to feel comfortable. All their workers take their work seriously and responsibly. I would especially like to mention Eszter, the coordinator, as she is a great person, who always welcomes you with a smile and whenever you have a problem, you can contact her.

My hosting project: I have done my volunteering service in Freizeitladen, a youth centre that works with children from 7 to 14 years old. During this year the tasks that I had to do in my project have been the same as all the other members of the team in Freizeitladen (meetings, organizing projects and activities for children, playing and monitoring children, cleaning and tidying up the centre…), which means that from the first moment they tried to make me feel part of the team. They have always shown concern about how I felt and they translated whatever I did not understand and they always solved the doubts I had. This project has been a great experience and I have learned new things about project organization and pedagogy. Even the differences of the language with children, I have been able to enjoy and have a lot of fun with them and the team.