Volunteering is a big experience that includes a lot. When you are a volunteer abroad, it’s not only about work. Of course the work that you do five days a week is a huge part of your life there and that’s the reason why you are abroad, but volunteering means also so much more. It’s about getting to know a new city, networking and making friends, language learning, free time activities, living and doing daily routines. In this post a few volunteers are sharing their experiences – and this time we are not focusing on the work but on the other areas of life.

I also want to make it visible that volunteering and intercultural exchange can happen both globally and locally. So volunteering doesn’t always mean going abroad – there are things to do in the local communities as well. This post introduces a few local volunteering options of Grenzenlos.

1. What else is volunteering than working?

Language learning

Living and working in another country provides an excellent opportunity to improve language skills. Khawla, one of the Grenzenlos’ hosted volunteers, shares her experience about German learning. She comes originally from Morocco and is currently volunteering with children in Vienna. Listen to this interview and hear how Khawla is learning German and why it’s important for her.

Khalwa sharing her experience with learning German

Free time & networking

Marti is a Spanish ESC volunteer who is working with children in Vienna (Grenzenlos as his hosting organisation). In this interview Marti is telling how is his accomodation, how he spends his free time and how is his social network in Austria. Listen and learn more about what else is volunteering in addition to work.

Marti sharing his experience as a volunteer

Connecting with people & collecting new experiences

As you probably know, my volunteering work is to produce this blog and podcasts. But what else do I do in Austria? In this podcasts I’m giving some examples of my free time activities as well as introducing one of my best friendships and sharing how do I keep the relationship with my boyfriend when we live in different countries.

Susanna sharing her tips and experiences with relationships during volunteering abroad

2. What else is volunteering than being abroad?

Coala – what is that?

Grenzenlos is hosting ICYE and ESC volunteers from many countries, and also providing many kinds of support to these volunteers. One way to support people coming to a foreign country is to connect them with a coala – a free time mentor and local friend. What does it really mean to be a coala, what do the coalas do? I interviewed Binghan and Katrin who are both former volunteers and current coalas in Vienna.

Katrin and Binghan sharing their experiences as Coalas

Zusammen Leben

Zusammen Leben (in English Living Together) is a programme that connects people with migration background with the locals. The aim is to boost intercultural exchange, to support integration and language learning as well as to build important and valuable connections and friendships. Listen to Theo’s interview – he is coordinating this programme in Grenzenlos.