Honestly speaking, the midterm seminar feels completely different from my first on-arrival seminar. My first seminar was in Weimar, with great trainers, nice people and beautiful location. It was an intense seven days training, we were so open and so motivated and excited for what was coming. For us it was just the beginning.
To your midterm seminar you are coming more experienced, already adapted to the country and language environment, already survived the unsunny, grey, rainy German autumn and winter. You feel more relaxed and calm. You already faced problems, different situations, learnt how to solve them and at least learnt something new. So, a midterm seminar is really for your reflection and time to think what you have achieved, learnt, experienced and what would you like to do more in the rest of your ESC.
The best part of the seminar were the people. Our two great trainers –Esther und Matze from Berlin, and us, the participants, who came from Russia, France, Italy, Turkey, Slovenia, Denmark, Ukraine, Belarussia, Greece,Spain and Armenia and who are currently volunteering in Berlin, Magdeburg, Görlitz, Freiburg and other German cities. And the seminar location - Gleisdreieck e.V. - was in the beautiful and green part of Hanover, close to the parks and lake.
The seminar program was quite varied – from a funny ice-breaker till different workshops, a city tour and open space slot, as well as meeting the representative from the National Agency. We had several workshops on motivation and pedagogy, because many volunteers at our seminar do their ESC in kindergartens. We had a theater play to discuss about hierarchy in our society, and especially in the environment and organization where we volunteer. We shared and talked about our projects: what we do, what we’ve learnt and already achieved.
The one of the most interesting parts was the open space and ideas which the participants brought to share. At this seminar we had really nice persons, who shared with us their skills and knowledge. For example, one volunteer gave us a Spanish lesson, the other two volunteers did a salsa workshop. Together we were improving our German, because some volunteers were preparing for the German language test, so they did for us the German lesson, which was also nice and helpful.
Hanover turned out to be an extremely attractive city. We visited the main sightseeing like the Neus Rathaus, where you can go to the top and at the observation tower and see the whole city view. Or Altstadt, Maschsee, Staatsoper, die Herrenhäuser Gärten or Hannover Museen and many more. Hanover can surprise, offer and show you a lot.
But what was the most important for me at this midterm seminar was to stop in the rush, to look back and reflect on my last six months in Germany and to look forward at the coming 6 months. It was so much helpful to listen to other volunteers and to understand that we are in the same boat, share the same feelings, emotions, that “what will be after ESC” thinking and many more. This seminar gave me more positive vibes, ideas and most importantly – new friends and motivation.
At the end of the seminar one of our trainers said: “This volunteering year in Germany can be an important next step in your life. Try to use your time wisely because we all will die one day. Don’t think about this phrase as a pessimistic one. Think about this phrase as a positive one. Because when you think about it, you know that time is running – that will help you do better quality management of your life and now your life is ESC, so try to use your time wisely!“.
The midterm seminar took only 5 days. But in those 5 days we became as one small family of friends. We talked a lot, shared our stories and feelings, we somehow opened our hearts to each other. Now I am already back in my city after the seminar and I’m feeling so grateful, motivated and inspired. Thanks to this midterm seminar and people I was completely reloaded and updated with my thoughts and ready for new ESC adventures, work and achievements!