Nina Botsch, 2013
I’m Nina; I live in Freiburg and I’m a High school teacher. I’ve always been interested in getting to know people from all over the world, to experience different cultures and to learn new languages. That’s why I studied Chinese, English and History. In the course of my studies I’ve been to several countries and I’ve made friends all over the globe.
Volunteering for Sprout was a new challenge for me because I did not only go to a place I had never been before, but I also worked in a field I had no experience in. So I was really nervous at the beginning. But I was warmly welcomed at the office and during the leader’s training I received a lot of information about the work with people with mental disabilities, so that I felt a little bit less nervous. And after getting to know my co-leader Michelle, who has been working for Sprout for several years, I started to relax because I realized that I won’t be alone and there will always be an experienced leader around who I can ask during the trip.
My first trip was a cruise to Canada. It was great, but I was really tired afterwards… We had wonderful participants, but because this was a slow-paced trip they needed a lot of assistance and you had a lot of responsibility as a leader. Nevertheless, it was fun: we were dancing, going to the casino, listening to bands and eating a lot. We had a really great time and to see how the participants enjoyed themselves made me happy.
Since my first trip I have been on 9 trips: I went to Virgina Beach, Penn Dutch, Atlantic City, Rhode Island, Florida, Delaware Shore, Thousand Islands, Boston and I did a cruise to Bermuda. In addition, I did several day trips in NYC where we went to baseball or soccer games and did some apple picking in the nearby countryside. During these trips I met so many adorable participants and I always had great co-leaders who I could rely on and had a great time with!
Working with Sprout was a great experience and I’m really happy I did it! It has definitely broadened my horizon and I gained an insight into the work with people with mental disabilities. This has helped me a lot as a teacher because in our schools we also have students with mild mental disabilities and through my experience with Sprout it is a lot easier for me to understand their needs and to work with them.