Hello again! It has been awhile since I have sat down and reflected on the past couple of months. Time has gone by pretty fast! I guess that is a bad thing… or is it?
Just a reminder – my name is Alex, I’m 20 years old and I’m currently doing my ESC project in Bremen, Germany where I volunteer for NaturKultur e.V.
The last time I was writing about my volunteering journey, it was the middle of June, Germany had less and less restrictions and things were slowly opening up. I had high hopes for the summer and I was looking forward to what the next months will bring.
Turns out the manifestations worked out and I had one of the best summers of my life! We could finally move the birthday parties to bars. We were still doing house parties but this summer, the neighbourhood Viertel in the center really became our second home. Since it was pretty warm in some periods, you could still find me and the rest of the volunteers spending the day by the river or at one of the lakes. I absolutely loved the long days and the gorgeous late sunsets. Even though sometimes it was too warm to sleep and we had to fight with mosquitos, I wouldn’t change that for anything else.
In the meantime, me and my flatmates decided to ‘’renovate’’ the balcony a little, so we made a really cool outside bed from pallets and we brought a comfy couch! With that being said, you can imagine how much time we spent on the balcony, one of my flatmates was even sleeping there overnight!
I can really look back on the summer months and be glad that me and the rest of the volunteers did a lot of things and made so many memories. From chill hang outs, brunches and game nights, to different day trips to Cuxhaven (beach!!), Emden and other cities in Lower Saxony, we did it all!
Probably my favorite trip was our weekend trip to Berlin. It was my first time visiting this city and it was really amazing. We stayed in a really nice hostel in the center, so we got to see and experience Berlin quite well. I also had a 2nd reunion with a very dear friend of mine from Spain that I met thanks to Erasmus+!
Of course, apart from exploring Bremen and Germany and having fun with the volunteers, I also had a lot of project tasks which was honestly a lot of fun too. One thing I was also hoping for was that my hosting organization starts organizing residential youth exchanges and training courses, so I could work more outside the home office.
Eventually, that is exactly what happened. I had the opportunity to work on 4 residential projects as a social media manager and photographer which I really, really enjoyed doing. The first exchange was a camping project, so apart from that being the first project I worked on, it was also my first time going camping. Part of the reason why I had a lot of fun was the fact that 3 of my flatmates also joined the project as participants. We got to spend 10 days together which I will forever remember and cherish, because two of them were finishing their ESC projects and moved out at the end of that month.
The other 3 youth exchanges were organized in our beautiful KulturHaus. I can not describe the peace I feel when I’m in this house. No matter how much work and tasks I had, I still had tons of fun and enjoyed every second of it. Even though I was there to take photos and videos, I met a lot of amazing people from all around Europe and made lasting connections and friendships.
In the small breaks from the projects, my mom came to visit me from North Macedonia and she spent a couple of days with me in Bremen. Exploring Bremen with her gave me a really different perspective of the city. I realized that I have been living in the city for more than 8 months and that I am super comfortable here. Apart from showing her all my favorite spots, I also got to see some parks and places with her for the first time, that otherwise I might have never gone alone.
Let’s go back to the first line of this report. Time has gone by pretty fast! I guess that is a bad thing… or is it? I still can’t comprehend that I have been living in Bremen since January 2021. I feel like I lived to the fullest every single day of this year. At the same time, I feel like I didn’t have enough time and I hope this year never comes to an end. Time has definitely gone by fast though, I just don’t think that’s a bad thing – it means I truly enjoyed and I’m still enjoying my ESC project.
Sooo, with all of this being said, I still have some time left till the end of my project. I have a lot of travel plans and I think ahead of me is a period where I need to figure out what I want to do next. So stay tuned and let’s manifest together!
Alex is hosted by NaturKultur e.V. on the project “Achieve Recognition Through Social Media”, financed by the European Solidarity Corps and Jugend für Europa.