About one year ago, I made the decision to leave on an internship in Germany. At that time, I didn’t even imagine how different my life would become.
I did an internship in the Museum of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, a prominent German composer who wrote such a well-known “Wedding March”. The museum is located in the heart of Leipzig and is considered to be a must-have for tourists. My responsibilities included welcoming visitors, selling tickets, giving tours, working on a pedagogical project, and translating articles. Working here was very interesting. It brought me a lot of knowledge and experiences. Sometimes, of course, I faced some difficulties. Any job might be stressful, especially if you work in the visitor service. As a result, I became more confident and learned to take responsibility.
I cannot refrain from mentioning some unforgettable moments of my volunteering:
1. One day, The Princess of Thailand, the Prince of Wales and their delegations visited my museum. The museum was surrounded by many security guards and armored vehicles. Our team prepared a special welcome with a live concert. In the end, Thai journalists traditionally bowed to the Princess of Thailand. We still remember how I also bowed to her 🙂
2. Every day at work, I met tourists from all over the world. One time I met a visitor and we started talking about the music of Mendelssohn and 15 minutes later we were already discussing transport in Australia 🙂
3. Our boss gave everyone a Christmas gift: a bunch of sweets and 100 euros: D
4. I cannot miss a trip with all the volunteers to Saxon Switzerland, wonderful place with mountains, forests, rivers. We traveled for two days, climbed steep cliffs and admired the beauty of the mountains. In the evening, we cooked, played board games, and spoke different languages.
I would also like to tell about two seminars for the volunteers. The first one took place in Berlin. It is remembered for the first movie-making experience in my life. The topic was “What will the world be like in 2035?”. We all were so excited that we were even afraid of sharing ideas with other teams so they would not steal them! 😀 On the next day we all watched our “professional” movies and laughed a lot about them!
My second seminar was held in Benedictboern, a little village in Bavaria. It is remembered for the only German university in the village and the mysterious forest with a museum of musical instruments inside. As well as for the interesting lectures and new friends from around the world.
So, it’s time to summarize my ESC experience. Firstly, my project inspired me to do a master’s in World Cultural and Natural Heritage Studies at the German University. I also plan to work in this field in the future. Secondly, I greatly increased my level of German thanks to constant communication with colleagues and visitors. Thirdly, every month I made two trips to other countries and cities. Here are some of them: Milan, Prague, Venice, Vienna, Dresden, Verona, Berlin, Halle, Bamberg.
I also want to highlight one particularly fun journey. At work, I met one visitor. Surprisingly, in a few days we went on a trip to Altenburg. But surprises are never enough. The town hall, which we wanted to visit, was closed. Some man kindly made an exception for us and showed the whole tower. And then it turned out that it was the mayor of the city. Isn’t that cool? 🙂
And finally, I would like to give some piece of advice to future volunteers:
1. Set clear goals for what you want to achieve during your internship.
2. Learn the language, because it is difficult without knowledge of German. 3. Try to find time for travelling. You will have many opportunities to visit different countries with other volunteers.
4. I also recommend to choose a medium or big city, because there is often a lack of youth and entertainment in small towns.
5. Don’t be afraid to speak if something bothers you.
6. Enjoy every moment!
I hope you will find your dream project!
Author: Anastasiia Putilins.