By Sanjana Rastogi,  Volunteer, Germany Volunteer Service Program, 16-17

“It’s been more than half a year since I started volunteering in Germany. This experience has given me insights into the ‘other’ diverse and cultural side of the world. Being independent in a country many miles away from home has taught me the real essence of life. I have not only learned about the German culture but also a lot about myself. Daily waking up early in the morning to practice Yoga and Meditation helps me kick-start my day with positive energy. I cycle everyday total 30mins to and from my workplace, which not only keeps me fit but also allows me to come in contact with nature. It may be sunny, windy, snowy or stormy, I enjoy cycling up the hill to my workplace, Kolping-Berufsbildungswerk.

Sanjana Cycling with other volunteers in Karsruhe, Germany

Meeting my colleagues and students everyday of the week makes me really happy. Our team coordination is great and we understand each other very well hence our working spirit is amazing. We imbibe the same positive values in our students. In these past months, I have planned and initiated many activities with my colleagues and students. We often cook Indian, German, Mexican and Italian food, have intercultural conversations, and find big and small differences and similarities between India and Germany for example: one of the culture surprises for the students was learning how to eat with their hands (which they thoroughly enjoyed once they tried it).  On the 25th anniversary of my organization, I presented about India. During Christmas festival my students performed Bollywood dance on Chaiya Chaiya & Chammak Challo, which they quickly learned during my first 3 months at Kolping.  My students and I enjoy discussing about world politics during my other initiative of Global Ethics Seminars. Some of the interesting topics already discussed are Global Ethics in the World and at home, Refugee Crisis: History repeats itself, Society yesterday and today and the ill effects of Alcohol: Zero Alcohol, Full Power!

Dinner with Colleagues

After 9 months and counting, I can totally say that Kolping is just not my workplace but it’s my family. I am excited for the rest of my volunteering time in Germany. Well, I would not think twice, if I had to do another year of volunteering and do my little contribution towards a more positive and just world.  I was also covered on the local newspaper.

I have also received admission at University of Oldenburg, Lower Saxony, Germany for doing my further studies. I have been selected under full scholarship to do my Masters degree in Migration and Intercultural Relations. Actually, my volunteering work at Kolping adds value, enhances my work experience and broadens my horizon. So, I would like to thank AFS India, AFS Germany, Kolping and Caritas for giving me this opportunity to volunteer and make a positive contribution to the society. Furthermore, I am really excited to start with my studies in September 2017.”