Over one month ago, I started my ESC voluntary service in the Waldorf School / kindergarten in Kaunas. Almost every day I still face similar questions about why I have made the commitment to volunteer in a Waldorf School in Lithuania. Doesn´t matter who is asking everybody is quite surprised that I decided to do this step in my life. I am happy to give you a short answer to these questions:
So why Lithuania? My favorite answer: why not? ! Due to Corona I wanted to stay in Europe, so I searched in the Internet where I could go. To be honest I didn´t decide to do a voluntary service a long time ago, where I would have had many options. It was a choice I made in the mid of August, so there haven´t been lots of free spots anymore. Still there have been quite a few possibilities around Europe, what I could have never imagined before. You don´t need to be an early bird every time to get good offers. But back to the question why Lithuania: Last year I was on vacation in the Baltic States and I really enjoyed travelling around, getting in touch with locals and learning something about these three different countries. When I realized that there are still open places to do a voluntary service in Lithuania, I applied immediately and luckily, it worked out!
Why Waldorf School? Back in Germany, I graduated in a public school, last summer. To be honest I hated going to school and I enjoyed the minute when the bell rang to end the school day, mostly, because I could just walk out of the door and no one could bother me anymore. The problem wasn´t the pupils or the teachers who I spent time with during my school day. The issue was the failing school system, which just annoyed and stressed everybody out. That was the reason why I wanted to see another school system with other teaching and pedagogy methods. According to that goal, a voluntary service in a school with a different teaching system – like a Waldorf School - was a huge opportunity to see the differences, maybe also similarities between different education systems.
So here I am! A volunteer in the Waldorf School in Kaunas. I don´t like it… I love it. Every day I learn new things about the school, the pedagogy and the students. One of the things I really love seeing at school, it that the school raises up individuals, not students who should fit into the system at the end of the day! Furthermore, it still surprises me to see pupils enjoy going to school. I could never imagine that there are students in the word who stay in their leisure time in school because they just like it there. However, that is what is happening there! I really appreciate that everybody welcomes me, and that this school has such an open-minded and kind community. Doesn´t matter with whom I work in kindergarten, in school during breaks, reconstructing the building or after school, students and teachers are interested in me, what I am doing here and always try to support me!
Getting in contact with people from different countries, not just locals, also internationals from all over Europe, is one of the things I am grateful for, during the time here. That is one of the best things doing an ESC and living in Europe. The exchange between different people all over Europe. For me, it is one big step which makes Europe more colourful and unique.