Life as a European volunteer in Stuttgart, Germany
For me, EVS is the change I wanted to do in my life for a long time! This experience is an opportunity to live abroad in a European country and create my one life-changing experience.
This is how I resume my 6 months as a volunteer in Germany coming from Tunisia in 10 points:
Since I came here, I had the opportunity to participate in many workshops and NGO fairs where I had to present my Hosting organization in Germany, the work I do here or my Home country Tunisia and my culture. I never get enough of meeting inspiring people, who are trying to make a change in their communities. I believe that everyone has a story to tell.
I love to travel, to seek other streets, other hearts, other style of lives. I love to travel, alone or with friends. I travel just to go. Prague, Krakow and Paris were my last destinations during my EVS. More countries and cities are planned to be my laugh and craziness victims the rest of this year 😉
Learning a new language during your EVS does not mean that you only speak this language, but also that you understand the culture, lifestyle, feeling more like home and learning another way to think about things.
I felt lucky because my German language course is also diverse! My classmates are from 4 continents and different countries: Syria, Iraq, Spain, Italy, Brazil, Afghanistan, Ghana, Eritrea, Peru, Lebanon, Ireland, Croatia, India and Japan… that’s why I strongly agree with Ludwig Wittgenstein proverb “The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.”
I traveled a lot the last few years, but this is the first time that I am far away for so long time. There is no words could describe the feeling of missing the food cooked by my mom, drinking a cup of tea with your friends or celebrating your national or religious fests. There is no shame in feeling home sick; it means you came from a happy home! But the challenging thing that I am creating my new home…
Building a new home starts by making connections with new people. Stuttgart is a very intercultural city where you can find open mind friends from all over the world! You can never feel alone here, just be spontaneous 😉
It was always easy for me to adapt myself in a new country or context. The integration process, in Germany, was for me a learning opportunity rather than a difficulty. I tried always to not skip any religious, local or national fest. I enjoyed Wasen in October, Christmas and New Year in December and Fasching in March. I even learned how to cook some south German traditional dishes and some words from the local dialect. Being part of new culture doesn’t mean to denial your own, but to enrich your soul with others!
Personally, I consider that the cultural chock is a positive term and not always relative to negative effects! This was the case for me; I was shocked by the punctuality of the public transport, the respect of the traffic lights and the consciousness of the citizens. And I was always wondering: Why do some humans seem to have a greater level of awareness than others?
When you do EVS, there is a big possibility to have a nickname from your new friends. Mine is “Honisch”! Honey in German language is “Honig” and it’s pronounced “Honik”. And because some problems of pronunciation that I have, I call it “Honisch” from where my Nickname was inspired!
During EVS, I learned to not be afraid to try something new because it can help to know more about myself! In Tunisia, I was always eating in restaurants or my delicious mom food but now I really enjoy cooking Tunisian receipts for my international friends and for myself also!
Dancing is my new passion. Since one month I joined a dance class. A tip from me: When you feel sad, DANCE!
Part of my tasks in my project is doing activities with refugees kids. I know it’s a hard job. But I forget all the tiredness when kids hug us and ask us to come back again tomorrow while my colleagues and I are leaving them. Making someone happy cannot maybe change the whole world, but their world. And be sure that will make you also happy!