My name is Mathis, and I come from the north of Germany, where I thought it already rains a lot but actually its nothing compared to Keswick. I moved to the UK approximately one and a half months ago. To be precise I moved to Keswick, located in the beautiful Lake District in the north-western part of England.
I finished school this year and I wanted to have a gap year before starting to study, therefore the European voluntary Service (EVS) was a perfect opportunity. I think the goal of a gap/EVS year is not to try desperately working in the sector of your aimed job in future it’s much more about the personal gain and the experience you can get to develop yourself during such a year. I am fairly convinced that nevertheless such experience helps you in every kind of Job whether it is as an CEO or Actor or whatever.
But let’s start at the beginning, I arrived at the well-known lake district after slight changes during my Journey in Keswick. It was an absolutely kind and warm welcome by Trevor, the operation director of Momentum World (MW) and the whole team. We went out into a restaurant the first night, where I met Joanna (second volunteer in the MW office North West (NW) and flat mate for the coming year) for the first time and we had a nice chat all together. Joanna and I passed the first week in a holiday flat due to problems with contracts of our actual accommodation.
It’s my first time being in the UK and I can definitely say driving on the “wrong” side of the road is something you must get used to. In some moments I am still looking to the other side to cross the road and it gets a bit dangerous sometimes.
However, the first week in the office was all about getting background knowledge of Momentum World and to see how they work in terms of projects, trainings and dissemination. Our job for the coming year will be to assist MW in different kinds of projects and especially through the NW office. Furthermore, Trevor explained to us more about how to start projects from an initial idea to a final application form.
Another huge part was the installation of our new computers, to get in touch with their communication and working programs. It took us about one week to install all the different things due to complications with the wifi in our office, luckily, we had got fast wifi in our holiday flat. To sum it up it was a pleasant first week with Trevor showing us the surrounding area (I was surprised by the beautiful landscape of the Lake District) and introduced us in a really smooth and pleasant way.
In the whole first time, I have got on and off moments where you feel a bit lonely and bored, you neither have your friends next to you nor your hobby activities, therefore during the first weekend I looked after activities that I would like to do and where I might get in touch with other people. So, I went out to the local football club in Keswick and talk to their coach, without any problem he invited me to join their next training. Moreover, on Sunday I went to Bassenthwaite sailing club and talk to different members about a membership and even there it was no problem to join the club and they invited me to next weekend’s regatta. So, all in all successful weekend, having nice chats with really friendly people and I had already planned future activities for the whole year.
On Monday (second week) we travelled down to London to meet Andrew (CEO) and Sarah (office manager) in the second office and we delved deeper into the work of MW and started working on their data base. It includes a lot of copy and paste but it is an important work for new projects and fortunately it has got an end. On Wednesday, we joined a training for students in Europe House where they mainly discussed about Brexit and the whole political system in the EU. It was really interesting to see how those young people are thinking about Brexit, given the reason that they are the most affected.
Back in Keswick we were supposed to go into our new flat but there was another slight change of plan because our actual flat was sold, so we had to stay another week in a holiday accommodation, which was not a problem at all. Finally, Trevor sorted out a new probably even better flat in the centre of Keswick.
In the office we carried on working on the data base and started to work more precisely on planning the upcoming projects, in terms of budgeting, logistics and registration form (most of them in excel sheets).
During the weekends I went out, sailing at Bassenthwaite sailing club and it was a pleasure to be back on the water again.
After the on-arrival training in Liverpool we had one day back in the office, to then take part in our first project of MW called Time for Tea the day after.
It has been an amazing week I have met so many new people from all over Europe and I am impressed by the effects the whole project had to everyone being involved. In addition, to know how a project starts from the very beginning and to know the huge amount of work invested for a project like this in forehand it then was satisfying to see the result of all that work. Besides it was a pleasure to meet all the other people of MW and within the week we became a really strong team which can work, play hard and then work even harder, so I am really looking forward to meeting you all again.
To put it into a nutshell my first impressions are really positive. All people I have met so far are really friendly. For myself living away from mu usual environment poses new challenges which have to be managed in terms of preparing your own food etc. but either they are great experiences and some kind of freedom for yourself. Especially the Time for Tea project was so far, the best experience I have had in the UK and it motivated me for the coming tasks.