Да бъдеш доброволец в Пловдив – Q&A с Торбен Щайн | Being a volunteer in Plovdiv - Q&A with Torben Stein
Да бъдеш доброволец в Пловдив – Q&A с Торбен Щайн
Име: Торбен Щайн, 25 години
- Защо решихте да дойдете в Пловдив?
- С каква доброволческа дейност по-точно се занимавате?
- Какво харесвате в Пловдив?
- Как бихте описали хората, които живеят в Пловдив?
- От какво се състой работата Ви?
- Как е българският като език за научаване?
- Защо решихте да станете доброволец?
Being a volunteer in Plovdiv - Q&A with Torben Stein
Name: Torben Stein - 25 years old
1. Why did you decide to come to Plovdiv?
Honestly, it was not really my decision in the first place. When I applied at the volunteer service and specify broader world regions like Eastern Europe or East Asia. Firstly, I received an offer to work at the Goethe Institute in Warszawa which the Institute withdrew later due to organizational reasons. I then got a phone call by the Goethe Institute in Sofia extending me being a volunteer at Plovdiv 2019 on their behalf. I must admit I did not know Plovdiv before I applied but I was fascinated by the entire project and the first impressions I could gather via Internet research.
2. What is your volunteer service about?
‘kulturweit’ is a state-funded volunteer organization mainly offering positions either at Goethe-Institutes or German schools or schools with a focus on German language for volunteers between 18 and 26. As one might be able to derive from the name, ‘kulturweit’ has an emphasis on culture and education with regards to its volunteer positions.
3. What do like about Plovdiv?
I like a lot of things, but I would like to foreground three points. Firstly, I adore the antique, lively and diverse scene of the city. It is amazing to see, what a rich cultural heritage of thousands of years Plovdiv possesses. And I am even more astounded that this place is rather unknown to many Western Europeans. Secondly, I am a great fan of the food here. I really like the mix of Balkan, Mediterranean and Turkish cuisine. In addition, many groceries are very cheap in comparison to Germany and taste even better. But what I like the most, is the general relaxed atmosphere in the city. Although the amount of work for me is not lower than in Germany the attitude towards it is more laid-back and not as tense as in my home country. The inhabitants of Plovdiv call this attitude ‘aylyak’, an untranslatable word, describing a relaxed state of mind open to enjoy life’s sweet pleasures. This something you hardly find in Northern Europe.
4. How would you describe the people living in Plovdiv?
To begin with, I find it quite difficult to make general judgments about how people behave in a specific country. I think you can say with a certain accuracy that people differ on average between regions regarding some traits, but still, these differences are very often far too small to justify hasty judgments when interacting with individuals. Bearing this in mind, I would say people in Plovdiv are on average a bit more relaxed, easy going and bizarre than in other European countries. Moreover, I would say though people do not have a natural cheerfulness, though they react friendly and accommodating if one approaches them with a minimum of respect and politeness.
5. What does your job consist of?
Mainly, I am helping with translations, social media tasks writing articles like these and helping distributing marketing material during events etc. Moreover, learning the language belongs to my tasks as well.
6. How is Bulgarian to learn?
Bulgarian is not an easy language to learn. Additionally, it is my first experience with a Slavic language so far. The grammar is quite complex and the alphabet is not the same. Reading Bulgarian out loud makes me feel back in 1st grade again. For me, as a German, the pronunciation is not that difficult disregarding the trilling r. In contrast to Romance languages learning new vocabularies takes as twice as long because very often there is no connection to languages I learned earlier in my life.
7. Why do you volunteer?
The general decision to serve as a volunteer was born out of doubts of how to proceed in life after graduating from university. Never having lived in a foreign country for a longer time, I felt that it could maybe the last time having the opportunity to live abroad. When I discovered a leaflet of my volunteer organization in January 2017, I immediately thought that a volunteer service would be the right thing to do after finishing university in regular study period. I picked Eastern Europe as one of my preferences as it was somewhat close to Germany but far too less present on our mental landscape.