Have you ever thought about how random life is? I mean, unintentionally you’ve been born on a random place, by a random parents with a random family history. It’s a random small, tiny point on this planet that shapes your whole reality and identity. You start acquiring a certain language, that shapes your thoughts by certain concepts and expressions, you start acquiring the culture and traditions, rituals, values and “normal“ behaviours of that random place you’ve been raised into. You don’t question all those things usually, until you get a chance to see them from afar.
When you find yourself far from “home”, when English becomes more than a boring school subject – but a real communication tool to express your thoughts and reach other human beings who are not raised in your-mother-tongue-reality. Honestly, seeing the world/reality outside of “your country” can be the most important experience in developing critical approach towards social reality and discovering the world outside and inside of you.
It might sound absurd, but really – only by immersing yourself in the unknown you get to know yourself better.
I guess it’s clear why I decided to come and join one-year international project here.
Just one year ago, looking from the outside my life seemed “perfect” – I was not even 24 and I already had a master degree behind and a job in the field that I was dreaming of. But somehow I felt that something is not right, I was not genuinely satisfied and this feeling of internal restlessness even grew stronger in time. I always had a wish to live abroad – to immerse myself in a new culture, language, habits,.. To truly feel it, not just for a week or two, as it usually happens when you travel somewhere. I always felt myself more in terms of cosmopolitan, than in terms of national labels. I am human being, just one out of 8 billion citizens of this world, and I don’t want that the language that I speak or stereotypes about the random place I was born define and restrict me.
When I got accepted on this project I had less than a month to pack myself and my “Serbian life” and come. I didn’t really think a lot, I just felt I had to do it and I did it. Maybe the first time in my life that I wanted to act more spontaneously, not according to some plan. Now, after 4 months being here, existing in this German “reality” I can say that this was one of the best decisions that I took in my life. I got to know myself better, as well as other people and this huge world that we are all a bit “lost” in.
I cannot help but think how many beautiful memories and experiences would I miss if I didn’t come here. Anja from parallel universe definitely doesn’t know how does it feel living with people from 4 different countries, preparing dinners together, having haircut at home by her flatmate. She wouldn’t have opportunity to participate on many local German meetings – with older and younger Germans, as well as feeling awkward when she doesn’t get German jokes on them. She wouldn’t communicate on eBay Kleinanzeigen and then end up in random people’s homes, carry the desk in the tram, she wouldn’t realized that oat milk is her favourite drink, and that riding bike near the cars is not that hard (when you have a bike line). She wouldn’t fall in love with irresistible Bremen fairy-tale like charm, become a speaker on German AIESEC conference, become amateur tourist guide, participate on a pub quiz in English and organize different local events with an aim to engage local community in Bremen – such as movie night, sewing workshop and solidarity concert.
To be honest, I like almost every moment of my current life (except those periods without slightest ray of sun that can last for even a week, or rainy gloomy winter days) – freedom, independence, exploration,.. I truly believe that every (young) person should experience something like this.
Just think – life is short and only one. In few decades we’ll be gone and what would really matter are the experiences that let us grow and develop, that made us grateful for being alive.
Can’t wait to see what’s ahead of me in the following months. I’m sure that Anja from the summer 2023 would be even more opened and enlightened. I am completely thrilled and excited to see in which way.
Anja is hosted by NaturKultur e.V. on our project financed by the European Solidarity Corps and Jugend für Europa.