Former PEBK student talks about her voluntary year abroad

On September 5th a former student of Paul-Ehrlich-Berufskolleg, Katharina Hohmann, visited us and gave the class GYQ1b a talk about the benefits and opportunities of voluntary work abroad.

The class prepared a few questions for her and she took the time to clarify all our questions.

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Katharina did her voluntary work in Canada. She explained her expectations, wishes and future plans to us. Katharina was a live-in assistant at L’Arche in Antigonish, Nova Scotia in Canada, where she worked for handicapped people with many different challenges. Most of the people she took care of were already seniors.

The inhabitants (called “core members”) have the opportunity to experience different activities like cooking, camping and celebrating Halloween and other events. They live in a normal house, where they feel at home and comfortable.

Katharina said it was challenging at first, but she learned how to deal and communicate with the people she took care of. She built a good relationship to the core members and the community of inhabitants and assistants turned out to be a very close and friendly one.

She was in Canada for a whole year. She went to Canada through an organisation, which helped her get her visa and supported her throughout the year. She explained to the class that the organisation is trustworthy, always got her back and she also felt secure because there was an emergency contact at all times. This small organisation called In Via Köln ( helps a lot of young people to get experience in other countries. They also made sure that she had a German based health insurance and checked on her all the time.

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She also told us about some very funny moments and stories that happened during her stay in Canada and showed us many photos to illustrate these. She told us that Canadians are very friendly and wherever you go small talk is a must! She surprisingly got to meet a very high number of Germans and other international workers and that made her feel even more comfortable.

Now Katharina plans to go back to Canada for another year to continue being a live-in assistant in the same place she was before and to go to university after that.

She gave us the advice that the best time to have an experience like she did is after school because after university the goal is to start working and you should enjoy life and meet as many people as you can before that!

Written by: Jodi Pinto

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