Labas and hello!
My name is Sophie and I’m the Austrian volunteer who was part of Šatrija’s team from September 2019 until June 2020, with pandemic-caused interruptions towards the end.
My time in the children and youth club was adventurous and timewise very exhausting. A lot of changes were going on in Šatrija in my volunteering period, which naturally also had their effect on me. Nonetheless, I’m glad I chose to volunteer there, as I learned so so much about life, people, cultures, children and myself.
I did not come to Šatrija with lots of experience on how to deal with children and youngsters, so I was extremely nervous when I hosted my first German class and my first theatre class. I tell you – children have a ton of energy! My respect for all proper teachers out there! Speaking of teachers: I assisted Vaida, a very friendly lady, with her art class for three to six-year-olds. It was such a pleasure to help out there and see the children’s development and what ideas they come up with. Vaida handled all louder kids very well and I wish I had had her expertise when I had twelve children aged eight to twelve in front of me. All my ‘students’ taught me a lot about teaching in general and what it takes to keep their attention and make an interesting class.
Well, I volunteered during the first half of 2020, so naturally COVID-19 affected me as a volunteer. Honestly, it was stressful, caused insecurity and the fact that I was far from home was not sitting well with my family in Austria. I decided to go home and pause my project. Two weeks afterwards a new regulation allowed me and all the other volunteers who had returned to their home countries to do ‘remote volunteering’. This means that we used online tools and our contact with the hosting organisations to remain our activities. I tried to do theatre classes online, but what really worked out were my environmental-based social media posts on Šatrija’s platforms. This gave me structure during quarantine and wouldn’t have been possible without my tutor Greta’s support and Šatrija’s willingness to pick up my idea!
Dear new volunteers: don’t stress yourself but set some goals. That’s the advice I can give. Take action in Šatrija and feel free to initiate something new at any given moment. That’s what I would have liked to enjoy for a bit longer. Enjoy yourself and good luck!