About half a year before we started traveling, I was browsing the internet and an article caught my eye.
“Volunteer and earn a free holiday!”
Okay, but come on. This wasn’t my first time on the internet. I knew there was no weird trick to “lose stubborn belly fat,” that Nigeria doesn’t even have a prince (much less one with financial concerns), and there was no such thing as a “free holiday.” Nice try.
I clicked anyway.
At first I was skimming. Okay, go to Germany or Spain… speak to people in English… promote cultural exchange… take an excursion… accommodations provided… 3-course meals…
Wait a minute. What is this? Maybe I should go back to the top of the page and actually read the full article. Is this a real thing???
A few minutes later… “OMG, THIS IS A REAL THING.”
It wasn’t enough for me to drop everything and fly to Europe right then and there. But it was certainly something to keep in mind. I stored it away as a Really Cool Thing To Remember for the future.[Fast forward several months.]
Michael and I have officially quit our jobs and are backbacking around Europe. We enjoyed Spain and Italy, and everything was dandy. Then our plan to go to Switzerland in April went like this: we checked the weather (freezing cold and snowing), and we checked our backpacks (oh right, we didn’t pack clothes that would be even remotely appropriate for that). And then we changed our plans.
“What about that Really Cool Thing I read about forever ago? We could just go chill in Germany. A free place to stay, free meals, talk to people in English all day… it sounds pretty cool. And there’s a program coming up soon. We could at least apply? We might not even get accepted.”
The next morning, there were emails waiting for us with this subject line:
Application Approved! Please confirm within the next 5 days
Ahhhh!!! Okay, I guess we’re doing this now!
And that, my friends, is how we ended up volunteering for a week as native English-speakers (“Anglos”) at Englischhausen (the Really Cool Thing), helping Germans of all ages and backgrounds (“students”) learn our silly language.
Want more details about the program? Keep reading! >>
[Note: This is also how we ended up in Brussels and Frankfurt, as we had a few weeks to burn before our time as volunteers in Germany began.]