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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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.
What do you think about work? For some, it is a question of how to do it less; and for some others, it is a matter of survival in society. Let’s take this one: work is one of the basis of societies. People have nightmare or dreams with their jobs because it defines our status, it gives us freedom, it enters us into adulthood, it gives us a purpose… But you know that working as and independant young one is hard and the EU deals with this problem? Here is my reflexion.
There are several points that we all can define as the causes of unemployability before the 30’s years old. Let me get into the point(s). Some organizations or companies have the fear of having unexperts working with them so some of them require even years in the same sector. This also makes the youth fear and insecurities. Youth might think they are always unprepared so they must have a lot of studies. That’s our next point. People believe that we must have a career mandatory. (Insert dramatic voice) Unless you have superior studies, you would fail in life without a job. How killing!
We can work with medium studies and with no studies. Since I’m in Austria, I discovered that there’s a lot of posibilities if you don’t have huge status diploma and thousands of courses and three languages fluently spoken like a native. Not only fault of our mentality but companies as we said before. How then can we have experience if you don’t let us work? I give clues later.
And then let me speak about the conditions. Youth people often have to live with their parents hundreds of kilometers away from the work just because the apartments or the houses are so expensive that it is imposible to be independant and start a family/new life alone. But how my father can do it and not me? He has experience on his job and you don’t, so the first years you may gain between the 40% and the 60% of what you would earn in 3-5 years; And that’s if the contract is for an undefined time, which is more commom to find it temporally. And gender or nationalities is often an issue of unequality in companies.
This sounded really despairing and I put companies as the same level as the Evil incarnated. I do apologize. But the truth is that we are fighting this. The most clear: what I do. Yes, I am a volunteer and this a win-win job. I give my hand in a certain area while I learn in a foreign country and I can make a Youthpass (we spoke before in another post) that is like a resumee of what I did here; And let me tell you that is even more useful to ask for a job than a career diploma in many cases. We also work!
Also, this is not the only thing that you can find. Internet is crowed with ideas, experiences, blogs, suggestions, international jobs, interships, non-European volunteers and much more that is headaching to think. People share their experiences in social media, ask then how they did; organizations offer interships or scholarships, fight to apply them; companies look for crew of other countries, use all the tools on your hand to give them reasons to hire you.
This can also help with the people of distance and the difficulties of living alone. Then you receive conditions that allow you to stay: a paid insurance, a place to live while your work is on during a period of time and any sort of subsidy. Do you want also one of my advice? Enterpreneurship doesn’t only mean to create your company. If you use the (psychological) tools that enterpreneurs pray like it was the Bible, this world is at your shoes. There’s a lot of courses of enterpreneurship even for free that you can use in your own direction. And here’s the second advice: enterpreneurship is based on energy. Energy to create, energy to be responsible, energy to be brave, energy to think, energy to meet… Being active in a nutshell.
If you accomplish these requirements, you prove to be one of the best options of the market. Wouldn’t this then guarantee you a position in the company? You don’t need to answer. Proof to be that master, that salvation, that mesiah that they are waiting for. Thus they won’t even care about gender, nationality, ethnicity or any kind of that. Companies are greedy so instead of fighting, be better than they and proove it that you’re the way to make them gain money.
One or two more general advices
First, the father quote: boy, this is tough. So allow yourself to fail and be patient. Of course you can be scared, but don’t let the fear win this time. With corona-stuff we entered into a crisis and we need new ideas and fast people that can save the economy; so take this another father quote on mind: don’t stare at the floor, the sky is upper your head. Also try not to be nervous. It is not like to be dressed casual or in smoking-suite. Be yourself and avoid lies. For many, being dressed in a simple way is better than being “over-fancy”. This also applies to respect; Speak with respect to the people you are suround, but don’t exceed your esteem, you’re not talking to the queen. And finally but not less important: always learn from others and yourself.