”Hej hej, my name is Jan Malte. I am 18 years old and from Bremen, Germany and, right now, I am volunteering for one year in Växjö, Sweden.
I always wanted to do something different after my graduation than just starting to study directly and, if possible, I wanted to go abroad. So I discovered the European Solidarity Corps and now I have been two and a half months in Sweden. I really feel like time has gone by soo fast in the last two months.
I am working with Funkibator Ideel Förening, an organisation which mostly tries to help people with disabilities in all kinds of ways but also has projects for asylum seekers and immigrants. I really enjoy working here, even though half a year ago I never expected to work in a project like this. But it is great and I learn a lot every day, especially because in Germany I didn’t have a lot of contact with people with disabilities.
But even more important for me than enjoying my work is enjoying my freetime. Three years ago I got into photography and, since then, I can’t let go of it. So it is great to come to a new place, explore new places and, last but not least, get new inspiration. Photography helps me here to calm down even though there is so much new going on around me. It helps me stay connected to myself and gives me time to think and relax.
Another thing that helped me feel more at home was continuing another hobby of mine, which is Wing Tsun, a chinese self defence. I was very lucky to find a place to continue training here in Växjö. I met new people there and also explored a different way of training than in my hometown, which was very interesting. The trainers even translated parts of the exercises in english as my swedish still pretty bad. But unfortunately the training got cancelled for at least the next few weeks due to the Covid19 situation.
And this showed me once again how important photography is as a hobby for me, because I can always do it on my own and don’t need anybody else for it.
But I did not only do my own hobbies, together with the other volunteers I also did a lot of other things. Nearly every weekend so far we have done some kind of excursion. We went hiking and biking and even spent a whole weekend on a little island next to Öland.
So if there is one tip I can give you for your time abroad: find a way to continue your hobbies or find new ones. This will help you massively! It is so important to not get stuck alone in your apartment, then you will probably start to miss your home way more. But keep in mind that this doesn’t mean that you should not take time for yourself. Find a balance and, for me, it was also very important to find a way to enjoy my time alone.
That’s it for now, but you will hear from me again…”