Another adventure in Germany - Juliane

As a volunteer in a German school last year, I decided to stay in Germany for another year. The European Voluntary Service was the best opportunity that came to my mind. It was the perfect outcome after my first volunteering experience though I needed a bit of time to switch from a great experience  to a very different adventure. 

I arrived in Halle last September, after a very long journey by train, with my big and heavy suitcase, and on the first days I already knew I would appreciate this city. If anybody asks me about culture shock, I won’t be able to answer what surprised me most the first time I came to Germany about 5 years ago. I know there are differences but they are not shocking me any longer, so I forgot them. And now I feel the culture shock when I come back to my home country, France, therefore I feel now a bit more German than French.

The day after I arrived, I started to walk around and noticed how the city is full of life, how Peißnitz brings so much nature into the city, and I was quite surprised, since everybody I know had told me that “Halle ist hässlich”. But Halle is definitely nicer than what I had heard before I came.

I am a volunteer in WTV - der offene Kanal aus Wettin, a community TV and a youth club in a village near Halle, which you can reach after 45 minutes with the bus. There, I mostly edit interviews and participate in some media projects in school or in events that we film. As everyone knows, the corona crisis had big consequences on everything, including my place of assignment. There’s no more events, and projects in schools or with youth people are cancelled, so the usual tasks have changed, but WTV still has lots of things to do such as tons of Live Streams.

Concerning my volunteering year, I made the decision in March to come back to France for a certain time before the situation gets better. For the two past months, I worked a bit from home. I will be able to work again in Wettin from June 1, and I can’t wait to be back! I definitely appreciate to learn about the people I work with, particularly because it is a multicultural and international team, and I appreciate to work in this context.

 But to me, volunteering abroad is not only about working in a place of assignment and to improve language skills. It is much more about learning in every aspect of life, it is traveling, meeting new people, discovering another culture and improve multiple skills. It is experiencing a great time abroad and I truly think I’ve learned more in my two volunteering years than I would have if I was studying at university.

The past few months have been a good time to reflect on this year, and during this time in France, I noticed that I missed Halle much more than I thought, and I am infinitely grateful for this year, and for all the experiences that I’ve lived until now. I still don’t know where this year will bring me, I don’t know if I will study or not, but I still have more than 3 months here and I am determined to enjoy this time as much as possible. And who knows, I might end up in Germany for another year, living a complete different experience!


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