First of all, let me introduce myself. My name is Bruno, I am about to turn 21 years
old and this was my very first semester at HWR Berlin. Please take a little time to
read this blog; it has some good insights, if you are interested in Service Learning.
Do you have friends whom are part of a different culture than you? Are you openminded
and eager to make new friends? Then Service Learning may very well be an
enrichment for you!
It surely was for me. The course itself started at the beginning of November, and it’s
basically all about refugees, causes and effects of the crisis, and how to help. It may
be only worth 2.5 credits, but it sure is worth a lot more empathy.
After getting to know the other students in the course, the objective was to find a
work place where we could sell our effort. Obviously, our payment wasn’t money but
friendship, fun and football. Why football, you ask? A fellow student and I decided to
play football with the kids and young adults of the accommodation at Heerstraße.
Very soon, we were introduced to Tiziana, the coordinator for volunteering at
Heerstraße. She made sure, that we understood the guidelines to ensure an
All three of us agreed to meet every Wednesday at 3 p.m. at Heerstraße, and take
the kids to the closest football pitch, which was roughly a twenty-minute walk.
Although there were just three of them, it turned out to be a much more demanding
task. Sometimes they were hungry, sometimes cold, and sometimes just bored.
However, since the boys spoke very good german, the communication hurdle was
minor. Overall, besides some incidents, it was all great fun and they appear to have
learned about the importance of team-work, sharing and fairness.
Not only kids wanted to play football, but also some of the older boys. Now that was
fun, without any doubt. No one to look after, just the ball and the goalkeeper. During
that time, I made four new friends: Muhammed, Majd, Daniel and Abdallah. Our
friendship has since developed far beyond the pitch. Sometimes, Muhammed and
Majd invite me to have dinner with them, and I simply love the traditional food. Daniel
and I enjoyed the 80s Party at the SO36 Club, and me and Abdallah often play FIFA
at my place. My flat isn’t far from Heerstraße so I normally invite them every
weekend, as well as to my birthday.
Besides playing football at Heerstraße, I was also part of the „German lessons for
refugees“ organised by Mr. Hirsch-Landau at the HWR. The meeting was composed
of about twenty refugees of different background and gender and ten German
students. The objective was to teach the refugees colloquialism, so that they not only
learn how to write and read but also talk and listen. The seminar was every Tuesday
and Thursday, but I was only able to be there every Tuesday. We played card games
like Taboo, and it was fascinating to get to know these people. Some of whom
already have worked in the home country or even graduated from University.
In total, I spent about 25 hours at Heerstraße and 5 hours at the „German lessons for
refugees“. All in all, both seminars really helped me to understand that there is no big
difference between us and them. I sometimes ask myself, how I would be able to
survive that far away from my home. No matter what specific situation I’d be in as a
refugee, a friend by my side that I can count on, would mean the world.