Life as a European volunteer in Stuttgart, Germany
“Kepler is a space observatory launched by NASA to discover Earth-like planets orbiting other stars. The spacecraft named after the Renaissance astronomer Johannes Kepler, was launched on March 7, 2009.” So guess where was Mr. Kepler born? In Weil der Stadt, yes! And I found it out only when I arrived in this small quiet city and found myself in the central squeare with the monument of this man. It was really great for me as I was fascinated by the Kepler spacecraft for a long time.
When I arrived there it was around 14:00 and I was standing in the city center and I could hardly find at least one person in the street, it looked like a day after crazy holidays when everybody is sleeping, but eventually turned out that it’s always like that there. Somebody also jokingly told me before that I was going to the an ‘end of the world’ place, I figured out what she meant :))
The house where training was held was on a small hill next to the city. It was a beautiful place with forests around it and surprisingly green fields for winter. We had an amazing view of the city and of stars as well, because of the clear sky at night.
By the time I arrived there (December 2) I was already confused and overwhelmed with all the stuff going on with me in the first couple months of my EVS and I didn’t expect it to be that much fun to spend 10 days with people I didn’t know, but I was wrong. It turned out to be the best experience I had in those three months. The whole atmosphere was very welcoming and caring from very first minutes we arrived, the group was really mixed, people coming from Portugal, Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Greece, Georgia and France. The trainers where also really nice – Esther from Germany and Julia from Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Just right after we got to know to each other they offered us to write down what we wanted to do with those ten days which was really cool as I expected that they would already have all the activities planned for us. So we chose lot of fun stuff to do and it was great. It was so pleasing that there was no pressure on us and I was with people who had the same confusions and same difficulties as me as being a newly arrived foreigner and to share all this with them. We also had a fireplace in backyard and it was really awesome to be there in the evenings.
During the days we had the time to discuss out projects, talk about the places where we do our EVS, some of them were even sceptical about the rest of their EVS months and wanted to quit (which was something new and unexpected for me) and some of them overly happy with their projects. We also talked about the countries where we come from, about actual problems there and politics. Trainers did some useful informational presentations for us, about our rights, our posibilities, our duties and what options do we have as volunteers. We all did some workshops, some of them were about sports, painting, nature and so on, I did the one about First Aid ))
We also did a short trip to Stuttgart, we visited a nice gallery and planetarium, also stopped by my place for some time, here I was talking about my music when we were in my room.
So surprisingly to all of us, at the end everyone was really sad that those days flew so fast and nobody wanted to leave, which was really nice 🙂 Eventually what I learned from this training was that, you have to say yes to every new opportunity and always be open to find and get to know to new people and not to rely too much on your expectations because sometimes they might be wrong.
I became good friends with some of them and keep to be in touch. We spent a new year in Berlin together and plan to meet again soon.
Thanks for reading 🙂