Volunteer work in Berlin: How I left the USA to get involved with refugees
From Victoria Mueller
Hearing so much about the refugee crisis in the media over the last several years, I knew that I had to get out of my homogeneous suburban American community and make a difference through volunteer work.
“Because I was a minor, however, I was consistently told that I couldn’t take part in volunteer work with refugees”
For over a year and a half, I had been trying to get involved in the cause. I had done everything from contacting refugee aid organizations to reaching out to a university professor who researches the plight of refugees. Because I was a minor, however, I was consistently told that I couldn’t take part in work with refugees. In addition, the opportunities to volunteer with refugees in the United States are rather limited.
“I had plans to visit my family in Berlin in the summer and thought this would be a wonderful way to access volunteer work.”
Because I am half German, I then turned to Germany to look for volunteering opportunities. I had plans to visit my family in Berlin in the summer and thought this would be a wonderful way to access volunteer work.
When I found vostel.de, I was pleasantly surprised by the transparency and user-friendly nature of the site. I was easily able to find an opportunity that would work with my interests and schedule. After several quick emails, I was set to volunteer with children in a refugee housing facility.
“On my first day of volunteering, excited and a bit nervous, I sat on the subway during my commute to the housing facility.”
On my first day of volunteering, excited and a bit nervous, I sat on the subway during my commute to the housing facility. I wondered what the children would be like. How would I connect with them? How would they react to a new person arriving?
There was no reason for me to worry. Despite the difficulties they had endured, the children and their families welcomed me into their lives without hesitation. The positivity and strength that they exuded was so inspiring to me and the experience was overall an indescribably rewarding one.
“It was incredibly impactful and may even morph into a possible career path for me.”
Altogether, this is an opportunity that I never would have thought would be something I could do a year and a half ago. It was incredibly impactful and may even morph into a possible career path for me. The moral of the story is that no matter how many obstacles you think stand in the way of a volunteering opportunity that you wish to pursue, you can find a way to do so. vostel.de and its helpful layout will connect you with a rewarding, inspirational experience in the most simple, accessible way possible.
If I, a seventeen year old girl from a foreign country, was able to easily get involved, you can too.
Victoria is a 17 year old high school student living on the East Coast of the U.S. When she is not busy with schoolwork, she enjoys competitive fencing, skiing, traveling, and eating avocado toast.