Maite in Bremen // 1st Report

My adventure in Bremen began on November 2nd, and I still can’t believe how quickly time has passed. I arrived in Germany from Barcelona, where I had just graduated from university. I was going through a difficult personal time and needed a change of scenery to discover the world and live new experiences. I am a very family-oriented person, so the decision to go to another country was very difficult for me. Leaving my comfort zone and familiar routines was nerve-wracking, but the desire for personal growth was stronger.

I started with some setbacks, which in hindsight, seem like a funny anecdote now. The first flight from Barcelona to Zurich was delayed, which made me miss the second flight. I was diverted to Frankfurt and from there to Bremen. I arrived late at night, exhausted and disoriented. To make matters worse, I lost my bags and was without my things for four days. Fortunately, my new roommates went to pick me up at the strange hour, which helped me overcome this initial hurdle. At first, I thought about going home. I felt like everything was coming down on me and that this wasn’t my place. Many questions were going through my head: Will I be able to finish the volunteer work? Will it be easy to live with people I don’t know? Will this job be difficult for me? What do I do, I don’t speak German! … many thoughts were going through my head.

Despite the initial challenges, Bremen has slowly revealed its charm. The city itself is a mix of historic buildings and modern architecture, with a beautiful river running through its heart.  On weekends, I started exploring the city with my new friends. We visited the Schnoor district, a maze of narrow streets lined with colorful houses and traditional shops. We marveled at the magnificent St. Peter’s Cathedral, a symbol of the city, and took a boat tour on the Weser River, enjoying the stunning city views.

Today I can say that I am lucky to be part of the team at Friedehorst, an organization that works with people with disabilities. This work is helping me to heal in ways I never expected. For me, this group is my daily therapy, my vitamin. I like to actively participate in what I have studied… It makes me enjoy the work I do to the fullest. Helping others makes me grow not only professionally, but more importantly, personally. Witnessing their resilience and positive outlook on life, even with their challenges, has been incredibly inspiring.

Working with people with disabilities is one of the most enriching experiences of my life. It solidified my passion for working with this community and my desire to make a positive impact in their lives.

In addition to feeling welcomed by the Friedehorst team and the users, I have had the opportunity to meet wonderful people in Bremen, also from other organizations and different cultures. This international network has allowed me to continue growing as a person. We share experiences and explore different parts of the country together.

German gastronomy is very different from Spanish, but I’m embracing the new flavors. Every day I discover new and interesting typical dishes. I have also tried the gastronomy of other countries thanks to the diverse cultural backgrounds of my friends.  And yes, I must say that the kebabs you find in Germany are the best. They are more flavorful, have a very soft texture and can be found on almost every corner, which makes them a quick, tasty and economical meal. NUMBER 1 FAN!!

These past months in Bremen have been a whirlwind of emotions and experiences. I have learned to be more independent, to be alone, to start from scratch and, above all, to adapt to situations. Now I know that I can achieve anything I set my mind to as long as I put in the effort and give it my best.

Looking ahead, my main goal is to learn the German language fluently. This will not only enhance my communication with my colleagues and the users at Friedehorst but also open doors to new opportunities in the future. 

Maite is hosted by Tagesförderstätte at Friedehorst Teilhabe Leben gGmbH on our project co-funded by the European Union.