Pernille is one of the ESC volunteers living and working in Bremen. She volunteers for Tobiasschule, a Waldorf pedagogical school in the outskirts of Bremen. The classes at the school are smaller and place an emphasis on developing the pupils’ artistic and practical skills, some of who have special needs. Her volunteering role is through the “Volunteers for a Green Future” ESC-project, which focuses on themes of sustainability, environmental conservation and education. Along with assisting in the classroom and other tasks in the school, Pernille is also involved in gardening projects in the school’s community garden and helping the children learn about environmentalism.
Pernille was recently interviewed by Altaposten, a newspaper from her hometown in the north of Norway, about her ESC project and experience so far living in Germany, and her plans for the Christmas break. In the article, Pernille explains that she is unable to go back to Langfjordbotn for Christmas due to the Covid-19 pandemic but is excited to celebrate here with her new friends in Bremen. She is expecting to feel homesick but plans to FaceTime her family during the Christmas family dinner and finds comfort in the fact that in the future there will be plenty of opportunities to celebrate with her family. This is not the first time she is away from Norway at Christmas – last year she was in Australia as part of a work and travel scheme. However, the difference is, she explains, is that last year she decided to be away from home, unlike this year, where she has no choice. She explains that she has been preparing for this during Autumn and has come to accept this as Germany went into stricter lockdown.
Pernille’s mentor told her all about the beautiful Christmas scenery with the markets and Glühwein stands in Bremen, and she explains that she is disappointed to miss out on these German Christmas traditions. Luckily, Pernille has a German friend that she met during her year in Australia, who she can visit during Christmas. She lives just an hour away from Bremen and will give Pernille the feeling of being surrounded by family again and give her the opportunity to experience a traditional German Christmas.
Pernille is living with a group of volunteers from Russia, Greece and Spain and spends time with the ESC other volunteers in Bremen. She arrived in Germany in September, and since then the Covid-19 situation and restrictions have changed drastically: from everything being open to everything closed. She had a lot of plans for things she wanted to do and explore but has had to put those plans on hold or cancel them. Despite the Covid-19 restrictions, she is still working at Tobiasschule, where everyone has to wear a mask and wash hands regularly.
Read more about her experience here! Please note, the original article is in Norwegian, written by Aron Bræstrup Løsnes.
Photo: Pernille Holmen