My experiences at the Welcommon Hostel
I’m Lilian a 19 years old german girl and I stayed with a friend at the Welcommon Hostel in Athens for over one month participating in the European Solidarity Corps project “Green Social Innovation for young people”. The name Welcommon, fits perfectly to the philosophy of this amazing place. Welcommon means welcome in common. Related to the name the original idea of the Hostel is, that refugees, tourists, and volunteers are all welcome and live together at this wonderful place. During these five intense weeks I have met so many interesting and wonderful people, with different stories and unique backgrounds, from all over the world!
In the following I would love to share my expectations before Athens and my experiences with you.
First, I would like to start with my expectations before coming to Athens.
My friend and I found this beautiful project on a website called: workaway. Workaway is a great website, for travelers, where you can find different projects all over the world. We felt in love with the idea of the Hostel immediately and thought that this project fits perfect to our original dream to do something social and meaningful while traveling. To be completely honest I did not really had any expectations before coming to Greece, because it was my first volunteering project. I expected that the work would be more like typical Hostel work, for example staying at the reception or cleaning the rooms.
I just felt verry exited of the time at the hostel, the new people I will meet, the places I will visit and the new experience I will make. In the following I`m going on with my experience at the Welcommon Hostel
Our main tasks at the Hostel were, to give classes to the refugees who live in the Hostel and to everybody who wants to attend. My task was it to give a german and english beginner class and together with the other volunteers an art class. The focus in our classes was on sustainability and environmental education. Specially in our art class we tried to connect painting with sustainability. I also tried to connect my beginner german and English class with topics like climate change, but the classes were more about the basics of the language.
In my german beginner class I teached the Alphabet, the sound of the language and the most useful german words and phrases. In my English class I teached kind of the same, but we also have done some small conversations and a lot more of vocabulary’s, because the most of the students already know the most basic words. It was so beautiful to see how motivated every student was.
The time with our students was also verry intense and emotional, especially because of our talks about their individual background story’s. For example, many of the students are from Afghanistan and during our time at the Welcommon Hostel, the Taliban took over the country. During one class, our students invited us to a demonstration in Athens against the Taliban, which was so heartbreaking to see.
Moreover, we spent much time with the children who live in the hostel. For example, we went to a nice park in the near of the hostel a couple of times. It was so great to see how the children had a great time, grew up and learn new things every day.
As a volunteer participating in the projects organised by Anemos Ananeosis in the Welcommon Hostel you are very free. You can spend your time with every project you would like to do. For example, another volunteer was doing a Boxing-Class in the Morning, or we painted the walls of backyard once. The schedule was from Monday till Thursday, and we had the possibility to design the lessons however we wanted. On the weekend you have free time. So, we had the great possibility to explore the historical center of Athens or the beautiful Greek Islands.
To sum it up my time at the Welcommon Hostel was very intense and unique, because of all the beautiful people I met and all the talks I had with them. Because of the Welcommon Community I have learned so many things about different cultures, perspectives and especially for my future live. I`m feeling so grateful for this time