My main motivation for volunteering in Germany

“My main motivation for volunteering in Germany: As someone who is interested in language, history and people, the program at the Excellence Center in Europe is appealing to me. Participating in the Volunteer and learn German program at the Excellence Centre is a chance for me to experience a foreign culture and learn the language in Germany.

Due to commitment needed in my job, I am unable to commit to a full-time language course however, I hope to make full use of my time here. At the excellence center, I would love to meet and talk to all sorts of people at the Centre.  My primary motivation for applying at the Excellence Center in Europe is to learn Deutsch and gain some conversational skills. I would someday like to travel to more countries around Europe and use Deutsch to interact with people. As part of the program, I am very grateful to get the opportunity to get the chance to share my knowledge by teaching English lessons to students at the Center.

Germany has a rich history starting from 16th century to the modern day. As a student, I leant about world history in secondary school and of course, we had to learn about Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime. Despite Germany’s dark history, I think locals today are far from the characteristics of the Nazi government in the past.

Having said that, Germany today is a wealthy country with high standard of living. Personally, I am impressed by the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, who stood amongst European countries to allow refugees to enter the country. The refugee crisis is serious and needs the world’s attention and it is easy to forget that there is life outside of Singapore. At this very moment, it has been sadly announced that she will be stepping down from her role in 2021 and hand over to a successor.

Before coming into Halle, I was on vacation in Berlin for 5 days. I was fortunate enough to meet a few local friends who accommodated my broken Deutsch. When I was staying at a rented apartment, I even managed to attend a yoga class in Deutsch; even though I had been practising yoga moves for quite some time, it was definitely an interesting experience to attempt to follow the class in a foreign language. Despite this, the class was very welcoming towards me and introduced each other in English. After the class, I even managed to visit a local German coffeeshop with a fellow student I met at the yoga class. She explained to me that grew up in the neighbourhood and that the local neighbourhood was different compared to popular tourist areas.

Overall, I found the short experience learning about her and other locals fulfilling and it was definitely lovely to be able to meet with such friendly neighbours around my apartment.

In order to achieve my goal of learning basic Deutsch, I will be attending a 3-hour lesson during my volunteer experience at the Excellence Centre in Europe. Besides this, I am very grateful to get the chance to support a Cultural Exchange happening at the Centre.

I think this volunteer experience will definitely make extraordinary stories that I will bring back home to share with family, friends and colleagues. Such an experience is rare in Singapore therefore, I am very grateful to be welcomed at the Centre and treated as part of the staff.”