Hi, guys, I’m Ivelina – a Bulgarian volunteer, serving in Germany.
The third month of my ESC voluntary service is already going. Since my arrival, which was an adventure itself, it has been a rollercoaster of emotions for me. If we don’t count a one-day trip to Greece, this is my first time leaving the borders of my home country, let alone living somewhere else for a year. I knew it was going to be challenging and far from familiar but I was so ready for it. Choosing Germany for my hosting country was one of the quickest decisions I have ever made. When I heard about ESC for the first time, I already knew I wanted to discover other countries which are far from Bulgaria. This is because, mainly, I aimed to feel a difference in the culture, the way of thinking, and the attitude of mind among the people. Plus, I also wanted to choose a project that might help me decide my future professional development. Somehow, I felt I could find all this in Western Europe, and here I am.
I work in a kindergarten called “Kindergarten der Kulturen”, which in translation means “kindergarten of cultures”. My duties are no different than the other workers’ duties, namely meeting all children’s needs, engaging them, and sometimes cleaning here and there. The kindergarten is located in Freiburg and there are children from over 30 different countries. The staff is also pretty diverse – France, Spain, Cuba, Kazakhstan, and, of course, Germany. We all get along really well and my supervisor, who is the boss of the place, Natalie, is cooler than I’ve ever expected. She treats me as one of the employees, which I like the most about her because it makes me feel like I fit in. All my colleagues, one of whom is my roommate – Jimena, are super cool people who definitely make my stay easier.
My city is the thing that I like the most in my volunteering. Not that big, not that small, full of life but at the same time calm and not hectic. In my opinion, such a town is perfect for ESC participants.
Last week I was at a seminar quite far from Freiburg. I spent 7 days in a monastery in Benediktbeuern, Bavaria, where an active center is located. This seminar was really useful as we had the opportunity to talk with a representative from the National Agency, and also pretty fun as I met really awesome people. We presented our projects and in an international evening, every person showed something unique for their country or culture. I had a truly good time there.
Now I am going back to my routine, ready to explore and to learn. Everything so far is amazing and I hope it stays the same to the end of my project.