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Volunteering at Youth Center Oberndorf

Marco´s experience report

It was September. I took a bus from Italy to Salzburg, thirteen hours without sleeping. Someone could say that it happened because I was anxious to start this new part of my life, leaving my country behind me and being part of an international environment, without any clue of the german language. Not at all. That bus was so uncomfortable and I spent my night listening the faboulous melody of a snoring man. I have spent others experiences abroad, but I knew here there was something different and special, and I am not talking about Mozart´s balls. When you cross the border and enter in Salzburg, just to your right you can find a gorgeous castle, upon everything, like it is protecting all its citizens.

I came here in order to join an European voluntary project in the Oberndorf youth center, a place where kids from different ages meet and share time, food and drink. Since when I knew I was going to cook them some pizzas, I knew I would have to accept the fact they will put ketchup and mayonese on them. And I did it, hiding both ketchup and mayonese from their sight. At the very first time, I felt like a stranger, every kids was looking at me like an alien from a different world, made of spaghetti and espresso. I thought that without speaking the language, It would be difficult to interact with them. And it is, but not impossible. Talking became a way of playing and get in touch and understand them. I tried a lot of new things, like put some coloured pencil make up in my face. I am still using it when I go out.

Living and sharing an house with different people from all over the world helped me to understand our differences and to accept my stereotypes. I eat pasta everyday, I really do and I love it. It is easier to get new points of view, get out of your comfort zone and open your mind. I started to feel more European. And I have also bought a functional jacket, light, waterproof and windproof. It was not because of Salzburg storms. Ok, it was also for that, but I found it nice. Then somebody said to me: „when you start to prefer functionality over fashion, then you are becoming a little bit more german“. And I like to think that I´ve became a little bit more Austrian.