Maida from Bosnia-Herzegovina came to Germany for a year in 2019 and did her voluntary service at the Vinzenz Home through the organisation pax christi in Aachen.
Maida from Bosnia-Herzegovina came to Germany for a year in 2019 to volunteer through the organisation pax christi in Aachen. Her place of assignment was at the Vinzenz-Heim centre, which provides support for people with physical, mental and multiple disabilities. In our short interview, she tells us about her experiences and what made her choose Germany.
Maida, in 2019 you travelled to Aachen to embark on a voluntary assignment. Why did you decide to do a weltwärts voluntary service in Germany?
Maida: I decided to volunteer in Germany because I wanted to discover a new place and new people. I just wanted to experience something new.
Your project involved you working with and for people with disabilities or impairments. Why did you apply for this particular project? Had you ever done any work in this field before?
Maida: My task on the project was to work with people with disabilities. I applied because I felt it was necessary to support these people. I had already had an opportunity to work with people with disabilities, such as Down syndrome, in various creative and interactive workshops before my voluntary service.
What were your tasks on the project? Was there a task you particularly enjoyed?
Maida: During my year as a volunteer, my job was to support the people who used the centre's services. I did things like cooking their favourite meals and playing games with them. We also went on trips together. The project also gave me the chance to attend German lessons and seminars, where I made many new friends from different countries.
When you look back, is there anything you would have done differently?
Maida: I don’t think there was anything major I’d want to change. As a young, outward-looking person, my voluntary service was a great experience.
You were away from your home country and your family for such a long time. How did you cope with homesickness?
Maida: I did feel a sense of nostalgia for my hometown but that was easy to cope with. For me, coming to Germany was just really interesting and exciting.
How has your voluntary service affected your life now?
Maida: It has had an impact in that it is now possible for me to continue working and to train in Germany. After my assignment, I stayed in Germany, working with people with disabilities. My assignment enabled me to make progress both in terms of my work and my language skills.
I think you learn new things every day.
What advice would you give to future South-North volunteers?
Maida: My advice and my opinion is that a voluntary service is one of the most wonderful things a young, motivated person can do. So, if you would like to get involved, apply for the project and join our team!
One last question for you - have you got any funny or interesting stories you’d like to share with us about your voluntary service?
Maida: That’s difficult to answer because there were lots of interesting situations. But there was one that stood out particularly. It was the seminar in Bonn, where I met people from different countries and made new friends.
Thank you, Maida, for sharing your experiences with us.