I am currently volunteering at a youth center in Telfs, Austria.
It takes 45 minutes by bus to the city of Innsbruck. It is a small place where many Turks and immigrants live. I wanted to apply for such a project because I wanted to improve my German and work with immigrants. Currently, I support the integration process of the children of families who immigrated to Austria from various parts of the world. Since I can mostly speak the same language with them, they explain their problems more easily and I can find solutions more easily. They allowed me to realize my interests. Since I care about gender equality, I have a mission to inform girls about this. I talk with them and find it very important to encourage them to do what they can. We ensure that all children spend quality time at our center after or before school hours. I am very satisfied with my co-workers and my sending and hosting organization.
The house given to us had everything available and we feel quite comfortable at home. There are 3 people living in the house and I have not encountered any problems so far. My host organization is very interested in my every problem and provides me with support. From the moment we arrived, we started taking German courses in addition to our working hours, and it was very beneficial for me both socially and educationally. Thanks to the course, I made new friends and it helped me a lot in my integration process. If I talk a little more about my working life, I love what I do. My boss and co-workers also supported me a lot in every adaptation process. They are always kind and helpful. My project is about 1 year and I have completed my first 6 months. I had a very good 6 months. Thank you very much everyone.
Hi. I am Denizhan. I arrived in Austria from Turkey on October last year. Since then, I have been working as an ESC volunteer at Telfs. I feel like I’ve been in a dream since I got on the plane from Istanbul. When I set off, I realized that a whole new world was waiting for me. And, indeed, it was. After my plane landed in Vienna, I met up with my friend, who will be volunteering with me on the same project, and we started waiting for our train to get to Innsbruck. It was going to be the first train trip in Europe for me. After a long train journey, we arrived in Innsbruck and my colleague at the place where I will be volunteering picked us up from the train station and then dropped us off at our new home. This is how my first night in Austria started.
The place where I work as a volunteer is a youth center. The children who live here have a quality and fun time coming here. So we chat with them and spend time with them. We try to help them with everything. All of my colleagues at the youth center are beautiful people from each other. I feel like I’ve been one of them since the day I arrived. Their behavior and approach to me, the fact that they help me with everything, shows that they are wonderful people.
Since I came here, I have met many of my friends who work as volunteers in Austria, like me. Everyone has their own characteristics and energy. They are all people with a completely different world from each other. I realized that these people, who grew up with different cultures from different countries and are different native speakers, can somehow gather in a common place and have a lot of fun. This is an amazing experience for me.
Tyrol has an amazing nature. As a person from the metropolis, I was amazed by the cleanliness of the air and the beauty of nature here. It’s the first time for me to live in a place surrounded by mountains. Every morning, when I look out the window, I come across a mountain view. This is where I found out what it’s like to live with nature.
It had only been 1 month since I started living here. One day, while talking to my housemate, she came to me with the idea that Halloween time was approaching and that we could invite your friends for a celebration. I thought that was a great idea, we made our plans and invited our friends to our house for a celebration.
Halloween was not something that was widely celebrated in Turkey, so it was going to be a whole new experience for me. We decorated our house with traditional ornaments. Everyone came in their own costume or makeup. So I gave myself a special make-up for the concept. We had a great night where we ate together, drank something and talked and danced until later in the night.
Volunteers are required to participate in 2 trainings within the scope of ESC projects. The first training is the on-arrival training, which takes place in Vienna, and the other training is the mid-term training, which takes place in Salzburg. The time for the first of this training had come. Together with my friends, we took the train from Innsbruck to Vienna and then checked into the hotel where we were staying for 3 nights. We were already starting to meet new people from the moment I walked in the hotel. They were all valuable people from completely different countries who, like us, worked as volunteers in different parts of Austria. Everyone was very energetic and friendly.
In the training, we watched presentations with a lot of information about ESC projects and Austria. We played games and did workshops together to increase interaction.
2nd stage of education on the day, we were divided into random groups and each group was given a list of tasks to do in Vienna. To be honest, it was great to get lost in a city of dreams like Vienna. I don’t even understand how time passes with my bandmates. I’m sure I won’t forget this experience for the rest of my life.
Another great event was the night when every nation made its traditional meal. We ate, drank and had fun together. Never before I have never felt decently the environment where such a variety of people are together. At the end of this 3-day training, the wonderful people I knew had become my friends. I am looking forward to the second training that will take place in the future.
Christmas is not something that is widely celebrated in Turkey. More often New Year’s Eve is celebrated in Turkey. As I was talking to my friends, I realized that most of them would return to their country to celebrate with their family. I also wanted to use this long vacation. I have set a holiday route with my friends who have not returned to their country. This route consisted of Vienna-Budapest-Prague-Berlin. All of these cities were magnificent from each other and fascinated me with their own unique features. Being on the roads for 1 week was a new experience for me. My first Christmas adventure in Europe was actually like getting to know a new World for me.
When I started volunteering, I knew that I would meet many different people and learn new ways. My new journey, which started at Innsbruck station, has changed my life greatly. I don’t know where the next station will be for now. But this station is a turning point in my life for me, I’m sure of it.
Life has very different dynamics. It may not always be possible to control the dynamics. I think the important thing is to be able to move on. This journey is sometimes full of difficulties and sometimes perfection. I hope everyone will find their own way. Thanks a lot for reading.
Auf dem Blog-Volunteering-Tirol wird Freiwilligen, die in Tirol tätig sind, eine Bühne gegeben. Sie berichten in Blogbeiträgen über ihren Alltag, was sie beschäftigt, was ihre Motivationen sind, was sie lernen und über vieles mehr.
Die POJAT (www.pojat.at) ist ein gemeinnütziger, überkonfessioneller und überparteilicher Verein. Als Dachverband verfolgt er die Vernetzung, Stärkung und Professionalisierung der Offenen Jugendarbeit in Tirol. Zudem ist die POJAT Supporting Organisation für ESK-Projekt (www.solidaritaetskorps.at) in der Offenen Jugendarbeit in Tirol. Derzeit unterstützen fünf Freiwillige aus unterschiedlichen Ländern die Offene Jugendarbeit in Tirol und werden dabei von der POJAT begleitet. Der Blog wird von der POJAT in Kooperation mit Kommunity (www.kommunity.me) betreut.
Sollten Sie Fragen, Ideen, einen Blogbeitrag zum Veröffentlichen oder ein Feedback haben, freuen wir uns, wenn Sie uns schreiben unter firstname.lastname@example.org.
On the Blog-Volunteering-Tirol, volunteers who are working in Tyrol are given a stage. They report in blog articles about their everyday life, what keeps them busy, what their motivations are, what they learn and much more.
POJAT (www.pojat.at) is a non-profit, non-denominational and non-partisan association. As an umbrella organisation, it pursues the networking, strengthening and professionalisation of Open Youth Work in Tyrol. POJAT is also the supporting organisation for ESK projects (www.solidaritaetskorps.at) in open youth work in Tyrol. Currently, five volunteers from different countries support Open Youth Work in Tyrol and are accompanied by POJAT. The blog is maintained by POJAT in cooperation with Kommunity (www.kommunity.me).
If you have questions, ideas, a blog to publish or feedback, we would be happy if you write us at email@example.com.
My name is Jesús, I am Spanish, and I have been a volunteer worker in Tirol.
In 2020, I decided to turn my life around – what a turn! Therefore I left Spain. Even though these were difficult times, Covid era, I thought it could be worth it. And yes, I have the Jesus of the past to thank for having made that decision despite all the difficulties.
For this reason I started looking for an association in which I could volunteer. I found one called Arche Tirol. At that time I did not know Tyrol very well, I only knew that there were many mountains, that it was very cold, and that Heidi’s house was there (more or less).
I contacted the association, who take care of people with intellectual disabilities. Just what I had trained for! I began to see photos of the area, the type of work carried out by the association with the users, and every time I was convinced more and more. I thought “if there is another quarantine, I want to spend it there”.
In the end, and after interviews and many emails, Arche gave me the go-ahead. I came here, as we say in Spain, “with one hand in front and one behind”. Not knowing German, not knowing anyone here, just traveling by plane alone, scared of turbulence.
Well, all this stuff just to say it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I have met great people, I feel like home here. I’m so good that I think I’m going to stay one more season… or two ;). Arche has hired me as a worker, and I am so happy! Spain can wait a bit.
From time to time it is good to say goodbye to your comfort zone and go out to find new experiences, to live new things, to meet new people …
Before I finish, I want to share with you the question that made me come here, and that I ask myself regularly every time I want to get out of my comfort zone but I don’t dare:
What are you going to regret, to do it, or not to do it?
Without anything else to say, I want to thank all the people who have supported me this year, who have helped me to adapt more easily to the country, the people of Arche Tirol, and especially also the people of my voluntary association, InfoEck, who have been working hard so that we all feel comfortable and warm.
Thanks for your attention, and greetings to all who are reading this!
My name is Barnabé Albrespy, and I did a volunteering project in the SCHULGARTEN – Aktive Montessorischule Telfs in Tirol from September 2020 until July 2021. This is a Montessori school where children from 6 to 15 years old study. I worked the most of the time with a group of children from 6 to 9 years old.
The children work during the morning, which is divided in two parts. The first part of the morning is called « Free work time ». The students have to on different topics and different activities. During this time, I could help them, to make some activities or to propose some work if they don’t know what to do. After this part comes the « Free play time ». During this time the children have the choice between playing in the garden, the school or to work creatively. Each day one teacher and once a week myself, propose a creative offer to the children. When I don’t make creative offers, I try to propose some games to them or at least I have a look to see how everything goes. At the end of the day is a short time where the children have to clean the room of the school. I also helped them to do this task.
I feel really happy in my work. The contact with the children is great. They are friendly and they have a lot of good ideas for work and for games. Also, the atmosphere between the teachers is great. My colleagues propose me all the time some nice work and games to do, therefore I always felt active and useful, which I really enjoyed.
Each Wednesday is the “Natureday“ – where we go on to the forest, the mountain or next tot he river. Same as the other days, there is a time of work and a time for games. I also prepared some work, activities and creative offers that I propose to the children. It’s all the time a really good day with a great atmosphere. Even if the weather is rainy or cold, the children are just happy to be outside. I also did Naturedays with the older group of the school. The Natureday I soften a very special day and we do great activities.
In addition to these nice moments in the school and during the Naturedays, we also do some projects with the children. We are actually doing a Garden Project with them. All the children, who want to participate, have a little area where they could plant some things. It’s also a really nice project because I think it’s great to get in contact with the nature. I was very surprise to see how many children were interested about this project. They have so much motivation to make a nice garden and to take care of the plants. Some of them go every morning before the school to check how the plants are doing an to water them.
This volunteering experience was really intense form me and the contact with the children was good. It was always a lot of fun to help them in the work and to play with them. It was my first working experience after high school and I think that going abroad during one year and work within this type of project was the best way to travel and to grow up. I’m really happy that I had the chance to discover a new country and also to discover a new way to do school. I was very interested about alternative and specially Montessori pedagogy. I think that this year thought me a lot of things.
Before coming to Park In I asked myself what would make me a good youthworker.
I knew that the team was very motivated and willing to involve me in every activity. I also wanted to genuinely learn and give my individual contribution.
Being here for more the three months now, I have found out some interesting things that I think every youth worker shares and that makes his or her job so very valuable.
THE WILL TO DO GOOD.
Sounds obvious, but it´s actually not. Not everyone in every field checks in everyday at work with the will to improve the life of people around them; even if that means to listen and pay attention to a single person for an afternoon, or to hang Christmas gift packages to the door so that youngsters can take them. Or to turn on the air diffuser with essential oils or prepare questions to interview the kids about crucial matters.
ABILITY TO LISTEN.
It´s easier said than done. It is easy when someone, especially if younger, brings an issue to your attention, to want to give an advice. Or maybe, tell them what would be best for them. It comes not natural to just take a step back and listen. With no judgement and no answers. But with openness and understanding instead.
LEADING BY EXAMPLE.
Rules are there to be respected. And youthworkers are there also to help the kids to follow them. This naturally pushes them to keep their accountability in check and be an example for the youngsters. We know that people learn by imitation primarily, and this is crucial when working with younger kids that are often searching for someone to look up to.
In this crazy times of a World wide pandemic we are leaving in restrictions. Most of the activities that were possible before, are no longer allowed. It can be hard to find the motivation to show up with a smile and the right attitude when your job consists mainly in contact with people and now that is in stand by. But still, the focus is always on the solution, never on the problem. Whenever I was asking a question the first answer was never „no“, it was „but, maybe…“. The energy is used to find a creative, different solution.
Those are just few of the elements that youth work consists of. I hope that with time and more experience, I can get to learn even more of them, and grow. In the meantime, I can just be grateful for the amazing opportunity to see this qualities realized in the everyday life.
During this crazy pandemic times it is easy to feel stuck and unsafe, yet some people take advantage of this slow and unsettled era to explore. To explore not only foreign countries, but also and maybe most importantly, different cultures and parts of themselves.
We have some sneak peek of their of their life abroad so far. Let´s dive into their experiences, starting with Baha:
“Due to my high interests about foreign cultures and diversities, I decided to have a social year as a volunteer. I was expecting to improve my multicultural knowledge, learn new languages and discover different cultures. For me that was the way to observe the effect of culture and language on people’s perceptions, behaviors and living styles. Then at the end i could remove borders in my mind and gain better understanding and different approaches of people who are different from me. During my first days of volunteering, I felt that I was exactly in the right place. The place was a Youth Center where I can get in touch with a lot of children from many places of the world. The thing that made me most excited was speaking 3 different languages everyday and switching from one to another instantly during the day. In those moments I felt that I was exactly in the place where I wanted to be.Although only 3 months have passed I feel myself more open minded and with more tolerance about differences. Day by day I learn more about the value of diversity. Once for all, it felt amazing to do a favor without expecting anything and see smiles in their faces.”
Let´s continue with Aleksandra´s words:
“Even if I had any doubts or concerns before coming to Austria, they all faded away as soon as I met my crew, my neighbours and of course the teenagers – the amount of support I received was just amazing. The Tyrolean community was so welcoming that Schwaz instantly became my new beloved home. I am happy that I found a place, where diversity is cherished and everyone can feel safe. I am going to do my best to contribute to the work of the youth centre’s stuff.”
It is interesting to see how important it is to feel welcomed and to perceive a home environment away from home, even when we look for a challenge or a new experience. Linda has also highlighted that concept with her words:
“I first decided to engage in a volunteer project abroad because I wanted to make new experiences and meet new people from a different cultural environment. I didn’t want to create expectations before my departure: I was taking the leap and was ready to welcome everything new with a positive attitude. When I first came to Tyrol I immediately felt that I had made the right decision: the people were welcoming, the environment stimulating and the landscape just dreamlike.During these first months I feel that I have learned a lot about myself, the others and about how to deal with many different situations. I had the occasion to be helpful to people who often come from a difficult background and this had a great impact on my self-development. At the same time, being part of an international community of young volunteers gave me the motivation to overcome the little struggles in everyday life.”
I certainly share many of the feeling expressed by my fellow international explorer! The first word that came to my mind when I stepped into Park In was : Cool. This youth center where I started to work and the beginning of October 2020 really reflects in its aesthetic the purpose that it has; a place where everyone is different and equal, a safe space to share thoughts, music and creativity. My purpose for 2021 is to learn more everyday about that, Austria and Tirol, traveling around as soon as possible! Forever grateful for the chance that I got.
I am sure that even in this challenging times we will all use our time in this beautiful country for the best, always connected.
Today I opened my window when I woke up and I was reflecting about my new lovely hometown.
They say that moving abroad has different phases, the first is the honeymoon phase. It is described as being filled with excitement and curiosity.
Hi, my name is Ilaria. I come from Italy and I have moved to Hall in Tirol in October 2020. As a person who has lived in a foreign country two times before moving to Austria, I can definitely confirm that feeling of enthusiasm and adventure that comes with moving.
Every ordinary task seems new, sceneries are fresh and the opportunity to discover everything is fascinating.
Nevertheless, every single place holds a unique charme and peculiar taste. It is often hard to describe exactly the sensations that a place is able to communicate. Therefore, I would like to do it through my five senses, so that you can experience Tirol as if you were in my head, through lenses of foreign eyes.
Pure white snow on the mountains surface, illuminated by the sun, makes a perfect contrast with the blue sky.
As much as I am used to see mountains around me since I grew up under the Italian Alps, I am stll amazed by how majestic they look here. Even when the weather is not clear and looks foggy, they have a fantastical glamor.
Autumn, my favourite season,is turning the colours from green to orange,yellow and gold. No better way to mark the succession of the Seasons. Everythig is now evolving.
There is a cute organic bakery, just down the street, couple minutes away from my apartment here in hall in Tirol. Everytime I pass by, this is what I smell: cloves, fennel seeds, cinnamon and cooked apple.
If I go towards Mills for a walk in the woods I can see the pretty houses with their small gardens and I smell the scent of burning wood and fresh grass.
Except for the sound coming from the skatepark just nearby my apartment, I can hear the bells from the village church, they remind me of home, together with the singing birds in the morning.
Also, If I take a walk in more remote areas I can clearly distinguish the sound of the river flowing. The wind through the leaves of trees, is caressing everything.
Hands down, Tirol to me tastes like chees. Chees and butter. Like a comforting meal when you get home after a long walk . Like a warm, enjoyable soup during a cold winter day. No coincidence one of the best dishes is Spatzle.
Cozy. Warming wool. A homemade, soft sweater that you can wear for a family gathering or a brunch with friends.
I hope I was able to convey my appreciation for this beautiful corner of paradise that is kindly hosting me for the next year. I would not want to be anywhere else right now. I am very grateful for this opportunity .
Probably, you think about what to do in a long period indoors. But not everything must be indoors! Some of you may have a garden, so guys you have time enough to work on your personal garden!
During these days, I have been working on my garden. As you can see, no one touched the garden in months! Of course we thought in October that snow and cold would clean the garden by winter. That was far from true… After even February, the grass was still growing! Our timetables and the lack of tools made us procrastinate and letting the garden issue apart. Suddlenly, the virus came and we had to make quarantine. I had no doubt of it, I said “I have to clean this garden by once!”. All the labour started under a beautiful shining-sun.
The labour was hard! There were so many grass between and under the flagstone. I took the globes and a plastic bag. I was willing to clean up everything as far as I can! However, the sun is strong and the grass too. So we planned a different goal: we need a courtyard. Why? There was a shining sun and fresh air. I addmit also that we were lazy enough and we didn’t want to make everything in one day. But this also was a good idea to take the sun and enjoy the atmosphere with chilling mornings under the light.
Finally, we managed to clean up a big area. The flagstone was cleaned enough, the leaves were put into the rubbish and all the insects got far enough from us. Thus, we finished! We just needed now to use the wood as chairs and then put a table on the center. Do you want to see how ended up?
You may have no garden? Well, gardening is not only clean a courtyard and remove bugs. You can have flowers in a window or you can try to plant vegetables in a small pot! I invite you to visit different web pages to guide you or giving you more ideas. Internet is big! And now you have no excuses to finish your job or getting bored at home. Do your best in this troublesome season!