I spent, thanks to the funding from Principal’s Go Abroad gave me, four weeks in Germany, namely in the Rhein-Hessen region in a tiny; and I mean 400 people tiny, village called Zotsenheim. I went to Germany to improve my German speaking skills, and to volunteer with the influx of refugees they were receiving. It was a very good experience going to Germany, and I not only improved my German speaking skills, but also met incredible people and in the blog I shall go into more detail.
Landing in Germany, my first night I spent with the church minister, being the first group to get there, and then afterwards in the rest of the trip in a Pfaarhause, camping on a wooden floor with just a camping mat. The first week, we didn’t help the refugees then, but rather got integrated into the local community and meeting the German people. On the weekend we arrived there was actually a wine festival going on in the small village, which at first was surprising for such a small village. However, it turned out that where we were staying was a major region in Germany, for wine making, being the biggest wine making region in Germany, and so you had beautiful sites of the Weinburgeren (Wine vineyards) which was great to go on walks in the evening. At the wine festival, me and a friend called Shrina actually volunteered to help with setting up, and then we were roped into making Flamkuchen; a semi-french pizza thing, at one of the stores for the whole evening which was hilarious due to the lack of skill from the both of us at it.
I was told that our work would be around helping young children refugees out in learning the German language and navigating round the town with trips to the local mosque and other fun activities so that they’d be more comfortable in their surroundings. We were separated into groups with me and two other students looked after 5 girls that came from other countries and were refugees, and they were some of the nicest people I have ever met. We were given money by the church,more group, to take them out and show them German life. We went to the cinema one day and saw Ice Age 5, and they really enjoyed that, but by far one of our best days was taking them for mini golf and the going to the ice cream café afterwards for treats.
Another aspect of our trip was every Wednesday, we would go to a set up refuge café and talk to refugees there and just help them won’t German a little bit, but more specifically just have social interaction with them, which was said they lacked being away from their families and friends. It was one of the best experiences of my life to meet these people at the refugee camp and learn their stories, from fleeing their countries to losing their families, it was heartbreaking.
Art project with all the children