My first month as a volunteer in Halle - Armend
I arrived in Germany by 20th of September. I departed to Stuttgart flughafen, where my family expected me there. In Calw, I stayed for the whole weekend, with the thoughts of planning my travel to Halle. And that was my first small challenge – there was no direct train from Stuttgart to Halle, and it was known that train-connections to Halle aren‘t the best.
As such, I had to change 3 train during the way, while I get across the whole West Germany, passed by Thüringen, and came late to Halle (Saale). My first impression when I get nearby to Halle, around Jena, was kinda scary. I saw all around old factories, a lot of pollution, destroyed un-used trains, and so on. It was my first impression, that a day in the past USSR lived here, and let its own heritage. This was only the impression from the very first day. But things got better afterwards, don‘t get afraid.
Now on, I have more than 1 month living here, and I am still getting adapted to the culture, society and the city, which kind of differs from the cities in the West Germany. I find Halle very practical, since everything is near, and you can reach easily everything by walking, plus taking into consideration that the tram sistem is very good, during the whole week.
Marktplatz is a place for everything. You find culture, history, good shopping markets as the marktplatz name says it, and sometimes some drunk people screaming around. So, you can sit and eat there, also, don‘t forget you can find free of charge wifi in the whole center, which is cool, I guess, for someone newcomers, who still didn‘t get a phone number with data.
Second best place I found around was around Kuntmuseum Moritzburg, the old castle inside, and the nearby botanische park, which is, as I read on the plates, a great work of the Martin Luther University. I found somehow interesting and confusing the fact that inside of the Moritzburg museum, there is a nightclub.
Other great spots on Halle are the uni place, where you can meet and talk to a lot of nice new students, which most of them are able to speak in English. Away, from that when you want to be alone and chill, there is the Lake a bit away from the city, which is great.
Not forget to mention that Halle has one of the biggest library around, which is for me, and any book-lover an advantage, where you can get subscribed there.
For me, the 1st month in Halle was challenging, because I felt like I don‘t belong to the town, a feeling that was arised after the Terrorist attack in the Synagoge, in the Yom Kippur holy jewish day, when I got confused for some days.
As for the places of assingment, I am working in Friedenskreis Halle e.V., and also, in SCHIRM-Projekt. I find them very good, especially SCHIRM, where I get to know new people, where we can chat, or play together. Also, the feeling that you are contributing toward people with special needs, gives you special emotions, even though, every job have its own difficulties in prospect.
In the meantime, all the volunteers, based on their previous German experience are taking German course classes, which takes places two days per week, and which for me seems very helpful. A suggestion to all volunteers, is to talk more in German, because, knowing English might make us lazy to advance our knowledge on German language.
For me as a new person in Halle and in Germany, and living very close to the Marktplatz is helpful. I hope I can make new friends in the coming months, so I am expecting much more from the city.