Hey everyone, my name is David Opitz. I am from Hagen, Germany, and I am studying to become a teacher for young adults in the language department focusing on the English language.
In Germany, I was part of many voluntary projects sponsored by the European Erasmus+ and Youth in Action funds. There we would have International meetings and intense exchanges between the European nations’ young people about topics like racism, anti-Semitism, and non-violent movements.
After I finished my first educational journey in Germany at the age of 18, I wanted to go abroad and my father recommended this course he knew called Life College, though it turned out it wasn´t quite the fit for my needs. I had a couple of placements to experience life in Scotland and so over my 9-month period in Dunoon, I had the opportunity to volunteer as a leader at eXp’s Friday Night youth club in the Dunoon Baptist Church.
Friday Night Club’s goal was to provide a welcoming atmosphere and free space for the young people of Dunoon and because we would only do it once a week it was quite different from my former experiences. Since our goal was to become a safe place we would often sit and talk about how to engage the young people coming in and keeping them interested in coming. The team cared about every single person within the boundaries of a youth worker’s possibilities.
I especially remember that we would often sing Karaoke songs or talk about recent events in the Dunoon grammar school while drinking a cold Irn Bru (miss those). I also remember being questioned about my home country and German culture and, in exchange, I got to know more about Scottish culture and the young peoples’ lives.
I think the most awesome bit about eXp was the success rate; what the team did was recognised by the people coming each Friday night and they wanted to give something back in return for the things the eXp team provided. In those 9 months, some visitors became part of the team and that’s part of the reason why I keep doing this kind of work in Germany.
I have recently led my first own training course on informal learning and including games in the learning process and I encouraged everyone to try and give something back and do it in their own way with their own talents because there is a possibility you can do it, perhaps even with eXp!