From Leipzig to Athens: A social worker’s Journal – Part 8

arranging papers

My last days in Athens passed by and I just realize I have done some things for the last time. My friends came to visit me and it was good to visit my favourite places with them again – Exarchia and Piraeus- and reminisce a little. We visited some new places, too, like the hot springs in Thermopylae and a soccer game, where the Athens soccer team AEK was playing, in the the Olympic Stadium. I noticed that the days in Athens are slowly coming to an end because the remaining pictures on my disposable camera are coming to an end. I only took pictures in great and important moments, which means that I experienced a lot of such moments during the last months.

Everything comes to an end; so did my project. It took place the previous week. On that day, everything seemed to be fast and there was no time to be nervous. A total of 26 great women came together and I felt very well prepared. The idea was to understand oneself in the frame of the team through different group exercises and to get to know the different resources and stories of the other women, the other team members. I think living in Athens, especially as a woman, is not always easy and I am convinced that everyone can benefit from having a network. That evening I realized that it is essential for a successful project to remain flexible and to be guided by the dynamics and needs of the group. For example, I spontaneously changed or omitted some exercises. I am very satisfied with the evening and I am sure idea of a women’s network has great potential for further events. I also did something for the last time, my FIRST project. I am grateful for the experience and for the participants and I am sure that I will often think back to it in the following years.

In a farewell phase one often becomes very thoughtful-so am I in this week. I wonder how I will feel when I come back home. There are so many things I am looking forward to. Nevertheless, I also associate Leipzig with everyday life and challenges, from which I was able to gain a huge distance here. I hope my experiences abroad will help me to better overcome these everyday problems and old vices. Since it was my longest stay abroad, I learned many things about myself every day. After this time I feel more confident, courageous, flexible and balanced. I would definitely like to take these feelings and qualities with me to Leipzig (and not just Greek feta cheese and olive oil). The whole lifestyle I got used to during my time in Athens will certainly inspire me in Leipzig as well. Taking part in so many workshops, events and lectures helped me a lot to understand things better, to get to know new people and to get inspired for own thoughts and ideas. This is, for example, a habit that I want to continue in Leipzig. I definitely want to plan a project in Leipzig next year. I have the feeling, regardless of my profession as a social worker, that this internship has made a lot clear to me. Above all, it empowers me to take responsibility. Since I have experienced Athens as a place where many people on the one hand are suffering on the streets day and night, and on the other hand people actively express their soldidarity and put a lot of energy into improving the situation, I also want to generate this energy and use my own potential to make the world a little bit better.

I am very grateful for the amazing people I have met and who accompanied my ways through Athens. All of them definitely contributed to the fact that I feel so comfortable here. I am also grateful for the experiences I gained during my internship and for the chance to partizipate and grow. Last but not least, I am grateful for the colleagues of Inter Alia who inspired and impressed me every day.

I realize that I have seen Athens as kind of a home, despite the short time. No other city has managed this until now. One thing is clear: I will come back.

ElliHi! My Name is Elisabeth Schreier but everyone calls me Elli.I am 25 years old and I have successfully completed my Bachelor of Arts: Social Work in September 2019 in Leipzig. In Leipzig I have gained different experiences as a work student like working for and with a youth living unit for minor, female refugees and working in a close-to-family, integrative, stationary living unit for children and adolescents. Besides social work, my heart beats for animals. For this reason-in addition to the fact that I have two dogs- I absolved an internship at the institute of animal-assisted therapy and pedagogics in Denmark last year. Before going to Athens, I was volunteering in a shelter with over 350 stray dogs in Crete. After this more physical labour, I am excited to absolve a two-months internship at Inter Alia as part of an Erasmus graduate fellowship. The focus is on gaining and experiencing international and new impressions, working methods and diverse perspectives.

While in Athens, I implemented a workshop on female perspectives on the city.For more information on my project contact me