”Volunteering abroad is a big challenge, as it requires some level of emotional maturity, as well as independence” • Mariam Kukava

”Mariam Kukava is a Georgian volunteer who joined Omse e.V, in Germany and carries out her long-term European Solidarity Corps project funded by Erasmus +. Read what she says about her experience:

Hello from Germany,

My name is Mariam and I am doing a long-term volunteering with the organization “Omse e.V” starting from 01.09.2022. I am volunteering in one of the kindergartens of this organization. I learned about volunteering opportunities on the official website of the European Union.

Volunteering abroad is a big challenge, as it requires some level of emotional maturity, as well as independence. However, experiences come with challenges, that can be both positive and negative in nature. I found myself having lots of questions, as well as doubts at the beginning of my volunteering experience and what helped me is taking things step by step, observing the events, myself, my reactions, weighting pros and cons, reminding myself of my reason “why” and giving myself time to re-adjust. As said: “ There is no such thing as failure, only learning experiences” (anonymous).

There are both professional and personal reasons why I wanted to do volunteering in Germany. I will share the main ones here:

The main reason has to do with improving my German-language skills (Even though I understand and read German, speaking it is still a challenge for me) while gaining more experience in the field I am already familiar with.  While volunteering in the kindergarten, I use my knowledge and skills, such as creativity, flexibility and communication, and also improve them further. I am playing with children, listening to their stories and what they have to share with me, staying by their side when they are having a difficult time, assisting them with various routine tasks and singing to them. For example, recently, I have made a so called “gratefulness tree”, cut out the leaves, glued them to the benches and wrote on them children’s answers about what they are grateful for, as well as what they like in themselves. We hanged the poster in the entrance, so children themselves and their parents could see. I am learning new things constantly and this is why I see this opportunity as a chance to grow as a person, learn more from the environment, from the people I meet, from Germany and all around the world. Moreover, I am challenging myself everyday by interacting only in German,

Volunteering is unique, because it gives you a chance to do something meaningful, valuable for others and for yourself- your personal and professional development. Doing volunteering can also help to decide if it is generally for you or not.” – Mariam Kukava