My name is Vreni. I am 18 years old and I come from Germany. I graduated from high school this year and afterwards decided to start a voluntary service abroad to get new experience for my future and because I have a great interest in improving my language skills. So, I applied for a voluntary project in Liège, organized by Views International.
After it was decided that I had been accepted for the project, which I was very happy about, the advanced planning visit (APV) was organized. The purpose of this event was to help me to get a first impression of the environment which I will live in for the next nine months, and of course also to settle organisational matters. Alice, a staff member from the DBSV, (the sending organisation) accompanied me during this visit. She also translated for me when I had problems to understand the language. But in most cases, we tried to speak French or English.
During this three-day visit I stayed in the apartment for the volunteers from Views International. I think it is very cozy and I can well imagine living there for the next time. In total, three people can live in the apartment. However, it is not yet completely clear with whom and with how many people I will live there.
During the visit I also got to know the supervisors for mobility training, to learn all the important ways in my environment, and French lessons, which I will have especially for the first two weeks. I’ll also have a training for daily living skills where I will be shown for example, how the cooker or other appliances in the apartment work. I guess that these lessons are very important for me to settle in well in the new city and to become more independent and self-reliant. That’s why I think it’s very good that there are adapted volunteer projects like Views International’s for blind and visually impaired people.
I also visited I.R.H.O.V. That is the school where I’ll work for the next nine months. I will do activities together with the pupils, for example making music or cooking together. I will also support them in class, for example when working with the computer. I met the teachers of primary and secondary school, my first impression was very good, the people were very open and nice.
And of course, there were also organisational things to sort out, such as reading and signing the volunteer contract, which I did together with Anca, my tutor for this project.
All in all, I would say that the visit was very positive and took away a bit of my nervousness before the next time because I could meet all the people and also try to speak a bit more in French. I didn’t understand everything, but more than I thought I would. Now I’m still excited, but I’m also looking forward to the next few months and all the new experiences.