In between everything I have to get done this week since I AM LEAVING IN 4 DAYSSS I finally found some time to tell you guys a little about our 12 day preparatory seminar (18.07 – 29.07).
The seminar was at Engen a neat little town close to the Bodensee in the south of Germany. Its whole purpose was to prepare us for our voluntary service in a third world and less developed country.
With two amazing coaches and I think 46 other volunteers we talked about all the important things regarding the country we are going to. We talked about the history, the political circumstances, cultural differences like do’s and don’ts and the climate for example.
Since about 30 volunteers are going to Thailand we mostly talked about the circumstances in Thailand and Asia. But since other volunteers of our group are going to countries like Cambodia, Ghana, Peru and the United States we also talked about their countries, which was also pretty interesting in my opinion.
Of course, we also talked about drug abuse, smugglers, diseases and human trafficking since they are major problems in countries like Thailand, Cambodia and Ghana.
The given information and the experiences returnees shared with us were great. Some of us firstly realized how serious this actually gets now.
The most difficult thing but also a really good practice was the task to prepare a lesson. We had about 45 minutes to prepare a lesson like it could be taught to a class in our country. Thank God we only had to cover about 7 minutes but it still wasn’t easy to do this for the first time. But that was actually a good thing. We all experienced what it means to prepare a lesson. How much time we have to have and which topics we could choose.
Then a few people (including me) had to show their lesson to all the other volunteers. I felt stupid at first and I was really nervous. The lesson wasn’t perfect at all but I think it helped. Now I kinda have a feeling of how it is to talk in front of a class. The coach gave us some really useful advice about what to expect, how often we should repeat topics and an idea of how fast we can go on with the next topic.
The people I met at the seminar were fun. Everyone was nice and we all got along very well. I think even some really good friendships were made.
I myself made some really really good friends. I shared the room with 3 girls (Joke – Cambodia, Inga –Cambodia, Kira – Ghana) and I already knew Joke and Kira from the first part of the interview back in February. That day I could already feel that we have some things in common. And the moment Kira and I arrived at the seminar (2 hours late because of stupid traffic!) I got proven right. After only a few days it didn’t feel like we just met. It felt like we are friends for years. And it was the same with many other people I met there.
I guess it was like this because everyone there was an open minded and had a pretty similar attitude.
I can say that I am more than happy about the group I am gonna stay with in Chiang Rai. It looked like we will have a lot of fun.
And I’m even happier since I can honestly say that I have an amazing roommate!! Her name is Linda and I already locked that girl in my heart. I guess Linda, Kira, Joke, Inga and I spent the most of the time together at the seminar.
The returnees stayed at the seminar for I think 4 days. One of them went to Chiang Rai about two years ago so he was able to show us many pictures of the town, the country itself, the school he worked at and also the apartment our group will also stay at. It all obviously looked different from everything we know but it looked different in a really good and also exciting way. He was also able to teach us some Thai which will help us to get around and most importantly help us to get us well integrated. The Thai lessons were amazing. All in all we had 4 lessons I really felt some progress. Thai is a nice but also in some ways really difficult language. The grammar isn’t that difficult but you have to master the pronunciation and the alphabet. The pronunciation is different from other languages. One word changes its whole meaning if you say it with a different intonation. And the alphabet? Let’s not get started on that. I think I could write about 24 pages to explain this difficult alphabet and their writing. I didn’t even understood all of it myself 😀
For now, I guess that’s about it.
These days I am running from store to store to get all the things we need. Many health related things like Malaria prophylaxis, band aids, disinfectants etc. But also things like a rain coat.
The difficult part of my last week in Germany is saying goodbye to many friends. Even though I already know how it is to be gone for a year it isn’t easy.
I will miss many people I love while I am gone but I think the ones I am talking about know how much I love and how much I will miss them.