How (and what) I am doing now

How do I like Düsseldorf? Do I travel?

After these 6 months, I can say that I became an advanced user of the apps Maps and “DB Navigator”. So I’m not afraid to lose myself anymore.

Because of the restrictions, I had the opportunity to walk/travel within and around Düsseldorf a lot. I try to take a different way home from work or to see new places at the weekend. Honestly, sometimes I surprise myself with my knowledge of this city. I now see connections which I did not see in the beginning.

Do I travel? So far, I was in Köln with my friends in December and in Duisburg in April by myself. I hope I can travel more in the future. If not, then I still have some places which I want to visit here in Düsseldorf.

What do I do as a volunteer at AkWO?

The tasks that I do are changing from time to time, which allows me to learn a bit of everything that AkWO is doing. At the beginning, I reorganized our office and basement to be more familiar with my work environment. Then I copied lots of old photos from CDs to a hard drive and went through them so I could choose the best photos for my next task, which was “Make Instagram posts with memories from past projects”. I could see various projects which my organisation has organised and participated in.

Starting with learning how to use Canva (advent calendar doors), using Publisher, or thanks to a workshop (Digital Stories Europe) where I learned how to write a story, make a script, record my voice, edit a video and add copyrighted music to it. If you are interested, then here you can check out my final product.

At the moment, most of my time is spent on Eurobridge, which needs to be updated, and on bilingual recipe cards.

What I decided to do is to make sure that my boss (Vero) has enough energy during the day. Sometimes I feel like I am not doing a lot and she works more than is necessary, so I write her a note for good day, remind her to drink tea or provide snacks. I would like to help more but because of my lack of knowledge of German, it’s not always possible to help with all the tasks.

My development

Besides the skills I am gaining as a volunteer, I also have the chance, thanks to my seminars, to gain a new perspective on other cultures. It’s interesting how well you get along despite the differences. I also have improved my self-discipline when it comes to money as I have a limited budged - but it’s probably because most shops are closed.

As a foreigner in a new country, I have to put myself out in a new social environment and adapt to the given situations which helped me to have a flexible mindset. I gained knowledge while doing my tasks, in terms of learning, which is more useful for me, than formal education.

For sure living in Germany, without having my family or friends nearby, is helping me to be more independent and solve problems by myself.

Mid-term meeting

The evaluation provides the opportunity to learn from everybody’s ‘ESC story’ and enables the volunteers to plan developments and/or further improvements in their service and to think about what they will do in the longer term, once their period of service is over. The evaluation should also raise awareness of the personal learning process, linking it to the key competences of the Youthpass.

The mid-term meeting I had in March (from 15th to 19th) with Magdalini and Lukas who were in charge of our seminar. Again, due to the pandemic situation in Germany, we had it online via ZOOM. But if I compare the 1st seminar with this one, it's on a different level. They had time to be prepared and already had experience with online seminars. Maybe it's because of the participants, but I was looking forward to every new day of this seminar. And again, most of the volunteers were from Berlin/Leipzig but I met a girl from my On-arrival training so I didn't feel awkward because I already knew someone.