Franco-German voluntary service 2019/2020
6. Creole legends
Wow are you? I hope well! The most important thing at this time is to stay healthy. My family and friends are worried about me because of this virus, which is understandable. This corona crisis is giving us trouble and making life difficult...
Despite everything, I will send you on a journey with two legends and free you from negative thoughts. Do you like legends, because I could tell you two about my island?
This is the story of a Catholic Church in La Réunion. In 1977 one of the two volcanoes on my island, the Piton de la Fournaise, erupted. The lava destroyed everything from the houses to the streets except a church, the Notre Dame des Laves... The lava stopped at the entrance and flowed around the church. It must have been a miracle of God. What do you think? This legend is one of the most famous of the island and the church is visited by tourists today who can still see the remains of the lava around the church!
Another legend is the tale of the pirate Labuse, who lived on the island and is said to have buried a treasure somewhere. Until today this treasure has not been found! He must have hidden it well... If you visit La Réunion, you might find it!
You will find more information here: https://volontariat.ofaj.org/de/freiwilliger-werden/hochschulbereich-2/
5. Franco-German Exchange
I hope your exams went well, because it would be a pity, wouldn't it? In any case, you must have a big smile on your face. Life is beautiful! After the lesson, you can start celebrating! Fun is the only definition of life!
As far as I'm concerned, I'm doing really great! I continue to support the organisation of the staff exchange between the Studentenwerk and the Crous Clermont Auvergne, which is not so easy, but I really enjoy it. I am already very much looking forward to it! I will participate as an interpreter with two other students at the University of Regensburg. I am also preparing another Pop Up Performance, in which this time a French poem will be read out with its German translation. You can find the announcement in the upcoming semester program of the Kulturförderung (cultural promotion department)!
For your information, you should know that interested young people can apply for the German-French Voluntary Service 2020/2021 of the Franco-German Youth Office (FGYO) until 15 March. From September 2020 until the end of June 2021 you will be received like me by a Student Union or a university in France. You can find all information about the application on this page: https://volontariat.ofaj.org/de/freiwilliger-werden/hochschulbereich-2/. Seize this opportunity, which you may only have once in a lifetime! A choice you will certainly not regret!
4. A "happy" new year
I had a nice Christmas time. However I got a late Christmas present: A letter on the radio contribution from ARD, ZDF and Deutschlandradio with a request for payment. This is called a surprise! I had forgotten it, but the contribution service thought of me. Even without your own radio or television you have to pay a contribution, because I can use various services on my smartphone, for example. Unfortunately, this contribution is part of German customs and is therefore normal - but the social counselling service of the Studentenwerk is happy to help with checking for exceptions. I had completely forgotten this tradition of contribution, which seems typical for Germany...
After a good start into the new year, I took part in a German-French breakfast on 21 January in the Mensa of the Studentenwerk, organised by the local FGYO-Junior Ambassador (Franco-German Youth Office). I had the opportunity to present my island Réunion! The FGYO-Junior Ambassadors, on the other hand, presented the FGYO and its diverse programs. A self-service breakfast buffet was available to all guests. We tasted croissants and pretzels with coffee or orange juice, according to taste! During my introduction I also mentioned the staff exchange of the Studentenwerk, which will take place this year in March and we were still looking for two interpreters. This partnership with the Crous Clermont Auvergne consists of bringing the staff of the Studentenwerk in contact with the staff of the Crous and looking at the German and French working methods from a different angle. The guests were curious and excited about my presentation about my island.
The next day my Pop Up Performance took place in the Cafeteria Chemie, where I recited Creole legends, which were then translated by a German student. Fortunately we succeeded in attracting the attention of the guests! The Creole language certainly sounded funny to the students present, but they seemed to like it a lot. An experience that I also really enjoyed!
3. A winter in Germany
How are you guys doing? The cold winter in Germany is not very pleasant. I have the impression to live in a giant refrigerator! In winter in Regensburg you are not even safe from cold air in your room...
I am preparing intensively my future projects and have recently organized a Creole cooking evening with the help of the international tutors of the Studentenwerk. The cooking evening took place on December 9th in a room of the ESG Regensburg (Evangelische Studierendengemeinde).
As a starter there were delicious “bonbons piments”, prepared with lima beans, pepperoni, ginger, turmeric and other spices. For the main course we cooked Rougail Saucisse, the favourite dish of the Creoles. We prepared the stew of onions, tomatoes and sausages in Creole flair, accompanied by rhythmic sounds from my island. It was a beautiful time with a good atmosphere.
Winter is also time for the Regensburg Christmas markets. There is contemplative Christmas music, which not only sounds beautiful, but can also simply be sung along. The singing together with other people warmed my heart with joy! I then warmed my body with a glass of mulled wine. So delicious!
After the Christmas break it goes on with new activities. On this page I will keep you up to date. Until then!
Merry Christmas! / Joyeux Noël !
2. The acclimatisation period
I keep enjoying my stay in Regensburg and I've totally fallen in love with this city!
I don't regret participating in my voluntary service at the Studentenwerk and am already preparing events such as Creole cooking evenings in the student residences or a special week with tasty dishes from La Réunion that you can taste in the mensas. Enjoying these dishes will make you feel like staying on my island!
Leisure activities for students: Studentenwerk's tutor program
I will also work with Studentenwerk's tutors. The tutors accompany new university students and support student tenants living in Studentenwerk's student residences coping with their problems and unresolved issues. For instance, they have explained that waste separation is part of German custom and that we are not allowed to dispose of our waste without having thought of the separation beforehand. In Germany you encounter this kind of waste fascination... but I do like it!
In the student residences, the temperature of the heating doesn't need to be that high which is challenging to me for I freeze easily in my room! The tutors also organize leisure activities for other students. I have got to know them at a start up event by Studentenwerk's social service and they are really cool!
University Sports Center of Regensburg University and OTH Regensburg
Besides working there should always be time for fun! Thus, I have registered at the University Sports Center of Regensburg University and OTH Regensburg to play badminton with my tutor. It is quite easy to register as a student: You only need to register with their student-ID and pay a fee for the whole semester at terminals that are located all over the campus. Then, you can choose between a wide range of cheap or even free sport courses. Certain courses are without registration. For other courses you need to enrol at University Sports Center's website. You will be spoilt for choice!
1. The Arrival in Regensburg
Ma name is Wilson and I am 22 years old. This year I will do my French-German voluntary service in the field of higher education in one of the most beautiful cities in Germany: Regensburg! As a volunteer one of my aim will be to organize cultural activities for international students and develop the international cooperation of the Student Union (“Studentenwerk”).
What is the French-German voluntary service in the field of higher education?
The French-German voluntary service in the field of higher education is organized by the Deutsch-Französisches Jugendwerk (DFJW). It allows young Germans and Frenchmen between 16 and 25 years of age to gain practical experiences at an university or a Student Union in the respective partner country. The volunteer supports projects of the deployment site and can develop his or her own projects with help from his or her tutor. I will of course inform you about my future projects here at this website as well as in Facebook and Instagram.
My first impression of Regensburg
Regensburg is a city of busses and bikes. Particularities of this city are the sunny disposition of its inhabitants and the unique nature of its sights, such as the Stone Bridge, the old town that can at times be confusing with its numerous alleys and the nearby Walhalla in Donaustauf. The Biergärten are comfortable and as a gourmet I can tell you that the food here is exquisite! In the university canteen the food is really tasty, too.
And first difficulties?
My tutor came to pick me up at the train station upon arrival. He helped me with the administrative paperwork that every new inhabitant of Regensburg has to challenge. This help made my first steps in Regensburg a lot easier. Upon arrival in Germany you have to register at the local city office, a fact that maybe not every new foreign student might be aware of. Without the help from my tutor I have almost forgotten my registration. Nobody likes this kind of red tape but it is not possible to avoid!
This isn't my first time abroad for I have already passed five months in Göttingen during my studies. I am cosmopolitan and feel a close connection with Germany and its culture. My team seems to be open minded and is always there to help me with my tasks. In any case, I am sure to gather unforgettable memories over the coming months in this city of dreams!