Cultural Immersion - My journey of discovery in Germany with Ecoselva e.V.


Place of assignment: Germany

Organisation: Ecoselva e.V.

Pallavi Thakur from India discovered new eco-social initiatives as a weltwärts volunteer in Sankt Augustin and found a second home between the Cologne Carnival and new friendships in Germany.

I am Pallavi Thakur and since December 2022, I experience a wonderful journey in Germany with the weltwärts-programe as a volunteer for Ecoselva e.V.

Moving from a small mountain Indian town to another country may not be a walk in the park. For example, different forms of humor, dialects or cultures can sometimes make a person feel out of place among their peers. Nevertheless, I can categorize it among the best things that I have ever done!

Seven people are standing in front of an information stand.
Pallavi with other volunteers at the World Organic Forum in Kirchberg.

Eye-opening idea

I am currently based in Sankt Augustin where I am working on research in the bioregion of Europe. My educational background includes tourism, so it would be appropriate for me to work for Ecoselva, whose mission is to promote eco-social initiatives in India, Peru and the Dominican Republic. In addition, my father is a farmer, so I can bring my knowledge to the organisation.

The next stop on my journey was Andreas Eggensberger's Biohotel Eggensberger, where I spent two months researching an organic hotel. This allowed me to understand how an organic hotel is run, why and what it takes to run a well-functioning organic hotel, and how to involve local farmers and the hospitality industry to create a niche market.

In addition, I also had an experience that went beyond just the office while working at an organic apple farm of Mr. Aloysius Knein in Düren. In other words, it was here that I learnt on organic apple growing, had company with alpacas and did some berried picking. The encounters were insightful and provided me with an education and set of tools which I intend utilizing in my native land and help the society of farmers.

A girl is standing beside fruit bushes and shows fruits in a in a basket in the camera.
The volunteer during the berry harvesting at the apple farm.

Building bridges between two worlds

In my capacity as coordinator for weltwärts festival, I made sure that everyone could share whatever they wanted.  It was an exceptional outdoor German festival that featured music and fellowship. Music and friendship proved a successful formula for organizing a popular cross-cultural festival with an outspoken attitude towards life.

Around 20 people are standing with flags from different countries on a meadow and laughing into the camera.
Volunteers from different countries during their half-time seminar from Ecoselva e.V.

Between tradition and a second home

No matter where I go in the world, Germany, a country which feels like home to me, will always be close to my heart. This connection has always been based on the deepest difference between cultures that I have faced up. Staying with my host family in Germany exposed me to the intricacies of the German language. Conversing with Germans, whether in lighthearted chit-chat or profound discussions, deepened my connection with the local culture. It was through these interactions that I bridged the gap between two worlds, making me feel more at home in Germany.

Two women are standing directly in front of the camera with traditional dresses from India and Germany on.
The volunteer with her host-mother in traditional dresses from Germany and India.

However, one of the most thrilling and novel experiences was being a part of the vibrant Carnival in Köln. The atmosphere was electric, with people dressed in a multitude of costumes, creating a lively and festive vibe. The electric atmosphere, with people adorned in a myriad of costumes, created a lively and festive vibe.

My time in Germany went beyond a simple volunteer experience. My volunteering at Ecoselva e.V., Germany will be forever imprinted in my heart and soul. It was a transformative journey that allowed me to absorb the cultural tapestry of this wonderful country. I am deeply grateful to Ecoselva, the German Ministry, and Gram Disha Trust (my Indian organization) for this opportunity.

Three women are standing in a shop by showing a yellow, green and red bag into the camera.
Two volunteers during a visit to IGLU in Köln.

More information

To Ecoselva e.V.