When I started to look for volunteer programs in Europe, I couldn’t find anything
that was affordable, fun and let me be actively involved with the local refugee population,
until I came across The Excellence Center. After looking at The Excellence Center
I realized that The Center is involved in the local the refugee community, helping them
assimilate in German society. Inviting volunteers from all over the world to help them
with their mission here in Germany. I decided to apply to the program, I promptly got a
response from Rafat, who is the manager of The Excellence Center. My main
motivation was to come to Germany, to get a sense of the refugee crisis. I also wanted
to learn German and know more about the refugee crisis in Germany, so I decided to
come and volunteer at The Excellence Center in Halle, before coming here I was a bit
nervous about my time here, but from the very first day Rafat and other students
welcomed me with open arms and have shown a great hospitality.
During my first week, Rafat invited us over to his house for dinner. The Excellent Center
provided me with great accommodation with a German speaker which allowed me to
practice my German. My host was also a refugee from Syria, so I got to interact with
him about the arduous journey he had to undertake to get to Germany and the efforts
he was making to be part of the German society like many others. On the weekend the
Center organized cultural and social exchanges between students, volunteers and
members of the local community, consisting of young professionals and university
students, it was a great way to hear their point of view on this issue in Germany and
Europe at large among many other topics. These activities helped me make new
friends, we later explored the city together in the free time.
Another thing I was really struck by was visiting refugee families, they were extremely
welcoming. Getting to hear the first-hand account of the conflict in Syria and the
unimaginable horrors it has caused to countless families, forcing them to flee their
homeland. Some of the stories were truly sad.
Over the weekends The center organized trips to nearby cities for sightseeing in the
region, so we got to see and learn more about German culture and history. Though I
before coming to Germany I was a bit nervous but the people at The Excellence Center
have embraced me like a family member, and I’m so grateful for their generosity.
Everyone I have met here has gone well above and beyond to make sure I feel
welcomed and have the best experience possible. I now have a group of great friends,
I’m so grateful that I decided to come to The Excellence Center and volunteer here. I’d
urge everyone if you are thinking about traveling to Europe but also want to contribute
and do something meaningful during your travels, come to The Excellence Center,
believe me, you will not be disappointed.