Manuela Mueller, 2013
My name is Manuela and I live in Switzerland. The city is called Aarau, located near Zurich. After high school I already knew I wanted to become a social worker but I needed a break after 14 years of school. I worked in different fields, for example in a group home for teens or as a waitress in a ski resort. In September 2015 I continued my education and started studying social work at university.
2013 I decided to travel to the United States and stay there for a while to improve my English. Through a Swiss organization I found out about Sprout and was immediately impressed by this great program. For me it was a perfect occasion to gain experience in the disability field and refining my language skills, which both is essential for my future career.
Of course I had some doubts since it was the first time working with people with disabilities and this in a foreign country, speaking a different language. Still I saw it as a huge opportunity to get to know new people, a new country, a new culture and mostly I saw it as a personal challenge to grow with.
Before leaving on the first trip, I was very nervous and I remember being so tired when we got back home. Luckily my two co-leaders were both experienced and gave me a lot of good advice. We had so much fun with the participants and I was absolutely content that I decided to volunteer for Sprout.
By now, I’ve been on about 15 trips and they were always so much fun. We have gone to the beach, on rollercoasters, bowling, swimming, shopping. We made hot dogs and hamburgers, enjoyed picturesque sceneries, sang and danced and took amazing pictures. And what we did most, we laughed a lot. Such fantastic times and such wonderful memories I won’t forget.
Volunteering for Sprout was a great opportunity to travel abroad for the first time. Being part of Sprout means you are not alone and you will meet other people immediately. Co-leaders from all over the world become friends while you are on trips or while exploring New York City together.
Personally I feel like working for Sprout taught me a lot of important things for my life. Not only taking care of people but also a lot of skills in organizing and managing. Being in charge of the whole group is a heavy responsibility I am aware of and this is why I try to give my best every single day, so the participants can enjoy their vacation to the fullest.
It is a very demanding and exhausting job but I get so much positive feedback and when I see the happy faces of the participants, it is the most rewarding thing I could ever ask for. While working for Sprout, I feel like I can make a difference to some people and this is why I returned a second time in 2015 and I already booked my ticket for the next summer.