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.
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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).
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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.
In the voluntary work you have like 8 competences to develop. Of course everyone is skilled or aims to something specific. I open myself and this time I tell you my concern. Why do I feel concern? I DON’T KNOW WHAT IT SUITS ME!!
The key competences
I put you here a summarize of what the key competences are based on. Thus you can have a slight idea if you’re not familiar within it:
Multilingual competence: the ability to use differents languages for communication and to understand and express thoughts, feelings and facts orally or in writing.
Personal, social and learning to learn competence: the ability to learn to learn, to manage one’s own learning an reflect on oneself.
Citizenship competence: the ability to act responsible citizens and to fully participate in civic and social life based on understanding of social, economic, legal an political concepts as well as global developments and sustainability.
Enterpreneuship competence: the capacity to act upon opportunities an to turn ideas into action that has values for others.
Competence in cultural awareness and expression: it is understanding of how ideas are creatively expressed in different cultures, through differens arts.
Digital competence: it involves the responsible use of digital technologies, communication and collaboration, media, digital content creation, safety, intellectual property, problem solving and critical thinking.
Mathematical competence and competence in science, technology, engineering (STEM): the ability to use mathematical thinking to solve problems in everyday situations.
Literacy competence: the ability to understand and express thoughts, feelings and facts orally, in writing or in other forms, and to interact with others.
Quite extensive, isn’t it? Well, that was my first thought too. Then, which one can suit me? The first thought would be according to my studies, sure. I’m student of Translation and Interpreter then Multilingual and Literacy competences would be suitable, don’t you think? STOP there are more competences in translation and interprerter. A translator/interpreter must solve problems and have strategies; That is literally the Personal learning competence. And do you think translators use books and paper to translate? No, we follow all the new tendencies, so we prefer to have advanced technology for typing and investigation. Digital and Science competences would also be covered. If you’re not convinced of Science, the market of the scientific translation is the most popular and the most wanted. And finally, the translator/interpreter is an hidding enterpreneur who work between societies! No, I don’t mean we are spies; I mean that we get involved in social and cultural changes and we work on it. Thus we create a business (Enterpreneur competence) of changes and interaction in the culture of the people (Citizenship and Cultural awarness competences).
Can you see? IT IS IMPOSIBLE TO DECIDE! Then, should I make it based on my preferences? These preferences are. I would like to stay in Austria and use all my knowledge to work and to live here; Once again, all competences. Should it be the preferences of the country? C’mon, Austria is a wonderful country! They are involved in all of those competences like me. My project? Exactly like the previous question. There are no one that I can focus on?
Exactly, there are nothing that you can focus on. A voluntary work consists on the max enedeavour that you can offer. Maybe at the end you can see what it developed more or what it did the less. This is not confusion then, it’s the truth that you are helping, that you are important and that we all thank your work. Perhaps my path is not that clear as far as you can see and I’m still not decided what should I focus on, but I know a thing: give your best on what you are doing and all it’s comming together.
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!