Mein freiwilliges Jahr in Berndorf, NÖ

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Erique war von Oktober 2020 bis Oktober 2021 als ESK-Freiwillige in den Pflege- und Betreuungszentrum Berndorf tätig.

Looking back in the time, exactly one year ago, my ESC project started in a little town of Lower Austria called Berndorf.

I decided to begin a new volunteer adventure (after those that I had during my gap year in 2018) in something completely new for me: elderly carer and entertainer. My studies in the university were just the opposite of that, because I studied for being a Pre-school education teacher, but life sometimes surprise us with something that we don’t know we like that much.

My biggest fear before I came was the language, because I had never studied German before, and that could be a big border and impediment for doing that job. But, quite the opposite, because since the moment I arrived at the Nursing home, they were counting with that and they made me feel comfortable every time I didn’t understand something, explaining me everything from the beginning. Besides, they offered us 3 months of private German lessons since the moment we started, and we (the two ESC volunteers) improved a lot our German skills.

In other hand, during all this year I’ve learned so many things from every single person who was around me. I learned to listen, to be more patient, more creative and, specially, I learned that there are people who need a daily support and someone they can count on. I was feeling excited and happy every morning when I woke up, thinking that I was going to work, and I could see them again.

Of course, there are some difficult moments working in a nursing home. Especially when someone pass away, and you see them suffering. That is something that I was afraid of at the begging of the year and, of course, it was hard to assimilate the first times. But, overtime (though still painful), I learned that the best thing we could do was to make their last days as better as possible, being with them and making them laugh.

I’m sure that from this whole year I will always keep in mind every person that I worked with and which those I was fortunate of spending time with. Luckily, my project doesn’t finish here, even though I won’t be part of ESC anymore. I will stay for one more year working in the nursing home like a waiter, in the coffee place inside of it. So, to the new volunteers that are coming, I will be here to meet you and welcome you as good as they did with me.

Thank you to my Coordinating and Hosting organisation (ESK and Berndorf PBZ) for this amazing year and for helping me when I had some troubles during my stay.

 
With love,

Enrique.