Philipp Wolf, 2008
I’m Philipp from Germany, born 1985. I studied English and German in Bochum, which is pretty much in the western part of Germany. Now I live in Berlin and work in public relations.
Frankly speaking, Sprout helped me to make a real virtue of necessity. For my graduation I had the obligation to stay abroad in an English speaking country for at least 6 weeks. A friend of mine who I knew from school told me about her experiences with Sprout in NYC. Since I had worked in the field of disability before – and liked it a lot, too! – I was happy to have the chance of doing something valuable. And that in one of the greatest cities on earth, too!
It is a very different job one can do working with people that have special needs. Challenging, yes; however, more rewarding than one could expect: You help people have a good time, you make new friends and travel a lot at the same time.
My very first trip went to Lake George in 2008. I was excited because everything was so new to me: On the one hand there were lots of new faces, a language that was not my mother tongue, participants with individual needs. On the other: Great co-workers to become friends, fireworks at the lake and the next adventure, Sprout Stock, waiting right after.
The friends and the memories you make will last for more than a summer in NYC. That probably is best thing about Sprout. Challenging but great fun: No day is like the other, there is no playing by the book.
Volunteering at Sprout gives you the chance to travel, learn a lot about yourself, meet people, and make friends. You shouldn’t go if you’re only up to some fun; you need to WANT to make a difference for people that will count on you, and also for yourself.
To be honest, there is no serious deep-down change I experienced after volunteering. There were many small things that made some parts of me more open-minded, more thorough and more life-embracing.
I couldn’t leave that experience from 2008 alone so I did come back in 2009 and 2011. Of course it was important for me to see so many friends again and to be back in NYC, but for that it wouldn’t have been necessary to do Sprout. There’s more to it than that. When you have your routines at home and your everyday life, you yearn for the chance to do something extraordinary.