I am Katherine, from Costa Rica, but I live in Germany. I work as a volunteer in a kindergarten in Berlin, the last few weeks sharing with the team and the children has been a very enriching experience, where I am constantly allowed to learn and to cooperate. Both the team and the children come from many different countries, this has made me feel that I am not the only foreigner and also taught me that cultural differences mean nothing to those who empathise and are willing to learn beyond what they have been used to all their lives.
When I was in Costa Rica I thought about all the possible things I could face in Germany, and I can say that actually imagining it and experiencing it are two very different things, but they go hand in hand. In this short time in Germany, I have been able to see and experience a lot of very cool and special things. The city, the people, the culture, the language never cease to surprise me and that makes me feel that I am really living what I have often wished for and I am sure that these future months will be of much more learning.
I consider that one of the most difficult things is to change our mentality, and even more so when we have lived with it for most of our lives, like me for example. I must admit that I am still processing a lot of things and there are some things that I still struggle with, the culture shocks can be very overwhelming, but great experiences. And even though I've had it, I feel happy and motivated to keep going even though I know I'm going to fall many times.
I have also been blessed to have a host family that has welcomed me as one of the family, I have learned little by little what it is like to have German customs, how to listen almost 24/7 to a language in their daily life, try food very different from my country (which I love by the way) and of course improve my language level exponentially. Besides, knowing a lot about German history and going to see those places in person, definitely the feeling of being in a place where there is so much history, bravery, courage, pain and love, seems to me one of the experiences that we should live at least once in a lifetime. It makes you appreciate what we really have today, and that this will in no way be repeated in our future.
I am looking forward to the coming months, and I hope to be able to express and in some way help others who want to have a cross-cultural experience, which is totally possible and a great learning experience.
Definitely these next months will be of great learning and new experiences!
See you then!