What makes a voluntary service more interesting?
I would answer “seminars”. There are different seminars under the voluntary program. On every seminar people discuss problems at the project and live issues, learn something new and share ideas with others.
This march I had the second and the last seminar in Bornheim (Not far away from Bonn and Cologne). I found this seminar much better this time, that's why I want to describe it in this blog.
Firstly, we were at the seminar in the period of the Women's day. For many it might sound surprising, but in Germany this holiday has become an official day off only this year. We talked about equal rights and the way that brought German women to this point.. Some facts about the equality in Germany were quite surprising for me. Fight for the rights of women are still going on, although I had expected that in Europe everything was already perfectly regulated. Women in Germany still do not feel equal. Especially in the professional sphere. That's why unlike us, Russian who simply celebrate this day in a family circle, German women took an advantage of the day off and went out to demonstrate. As we did our city tour in Bonn we could have a look at the demonstration and hear about the problems the German society still faces.
Besides the demonstration we have also visited a japanese garden in Bonn and have spent the rest of the evening in a cafe in the downtown. I found the garden very beautfitul, that's why I am also attaching a photo from the japanese Garden:)
Secondly, we were told more about ESC. Personally, I feel weird to start the year as an EVS participant and to finish it as an ESC. However, it doesn't change much for us, except for some educational points during the ESC seminars. We were told more about the youthpass. We have received more details and ideas what one can write into under 'skills'. For example, ''communicating in foreign languages'', ''digital competence'', cultural awareness and expression'' etc. Honestly, as soon as they explained in details every point of the skills, it has become much easier for me and now I have an idea what competences I will write in my youthpass.
Thirdly, we have discussed our plans for the future. I hadn't expected that the organizers of the seminars would touch this topic, moreover I hadn't expected that they would gives us more ideas of what exactly we can do and how. There are really much more opportunities then I had imagined. One can do other voluntary projects like Bundesfreiwilligendienst, Freiwilliges Soziales Jahr or short term service in a workcamp. For those who want to study in Germany there are educational consult service. Very helpful! I was very grateful for the information!
My departure was also unforgettable. The very last day, on Sunday, we have all left early. I went to Cologne to meet my friend. Unexpectedly, a hurricane has started. It was impossible to be outside. The wind was very strong. Of course, at first we sat in a cafe and enjoy the time, but in the evening my friend and I had to go back to the main station. We got to know there that all the trains and even buses were canceled because of the storm. My friend had to go home to Schwelm, I had to go to the Flixbus station near the airport, but there weren't any chance to do it. Except one. A taxi, which was quite expensive for us. We didn't have any choice and took a taxi to the Flixbus station. Luckily, my voluntary service organization covered these expenses.
However, overall it was a nice experience and I will miss the time I spent there in Bornheim at the seminar. I will miss our both wonderful seminar-leaders and people I met there. I hope every seminar will be also that enjoyable for the future ESC participants.