Europäische Projektwerkstatt Kultur im Ländlichen Raum | The Careers Service Europäische Projektwerkstatt Kultur im Ländlichen Raum – Oxford University Careers Service
Oxford logo

This profile was written by a student who interned at Europäische Projektwerkstatt Kultur im Ländlichen Raum, Unterweißbach, Germany, in the summer of 2017 through the Summer Internship Programme.

Jade Cormack

Third year undergraduate, BA English Language and Literature, Merton College

Jade is happy to reply to emails if you want to find out more about this internship. While still a student, Jade's email address can be found on the global Oxford address list.

Work Projects

The Kulturino English camp is a 7-day activity camp provided for local German children aged 9-15. During my internship we ran 3 activity camps, which also included a few days off in between each camp to organise, plan and prepare for the next one. My internship put me right in the centre of the daily runnings of the camp, as I was responsible for organising fun activities, nature walks, and craft projects whilst helping the children to improve their English alongside my fellow volunteer Matthew. Due to the nature of the camp, I was essentially ‘working’ all hours of the day from waking the children up to prepare breakfast, cooking lunch, supervising them at the local pool, playing games around the campfire in the evening, and being available for any problems during the night. I was also responsible for running a short film project during the camp, and assisted by directing, filming and editing 2 15-minute long short films created by the children. Alex and Katrin (the couple of run the organisation) were incredibly helpful and ensured that we always felt at home at all times. They really looked after us as well as the children and provided constant support and praise throughout which was highly appreciated on especially tiring or challenging days!

Daily Life

Daily life at the camp generally started at around 7am and ended around midnight. At the beginning of each camp, we would devise a daily routine and a work schedule to separate chores amongst the children like washing up, walking to the bakery, and cooking. After breakfast and washing up, Rose (another volunteer from Brazil) and I would alternate teaching a dance class for 30 minutes before beginning the morning activities. Depending on the weather, morning activities could include anything from cricket, and capture the flag, to filming, making bracelets or hiking. During this time, one of us would take a few of the children away to cook lunch, giving the children an opportunity to talk to an English speaker one on one, away from the group. After lunch and washing up, we would begin the afternoon activities, often visiting the local pool, playing rounders, or relaxing in the hammocks. During some of the camps, we also organised some special activities including a tour of a dam and a hike to some abandoned mines. The evening would often end with a campfire or a movie night, which was a lovely way to bond as a team and get to know the children better.

As I lived at the camp for the entire duration of the internship, it was very easy to settle in and everyone was so lovely that I felt right at home. During the camps, we had little time to socialise or leave the camp but in-between camps, Alex and Katrin were kind enough to take us sightseeing, hiking, and even to a local music festival. Being in the middle of the forest and countryside, there wasn’t really anyone to socialise with outside of work but that did mean that I became incredibly close to everyone on the team and we would often enjoy some time to chat and relax once the children had gone to bed.

Lasting Impressions

Overall, I had an absolutely incredible time in Germany and found the work really rewarding. I have done TEFL work in the past and have volunteered at summer camps before but the real care and attention that Alex and Katrin devote to the projects and their willingness to include the volunteers’ ideas made for a really wonderful experience and far exceeded the experiences I have had before. I made lasting friendships with all of the volunteers and developed real confidence in working with children who want to improve their English. Although challenging and often tiring, I had so much fun and was able to take part in so many exciting and unique opportunities.

The location of the camps is wonderful and I really fell in love with the Thuringian countryside as well as the charming village of Unterweissbach. This experience completely reaffirmed my love of working in this kind of atmosphere and gave me the confidence to continue pursuing my ambitions to work in education, perhaps even in Germany. Alex, Katrin, and their family were a pleasure to work with and get to know and I can’t wait to see them and work with again in the near future!

Advice for Future Interns

I would advise future interns to really embrace the summer camp life and make the most of your time there as it truly flies by! It’s important to be energetic, fun, and very patient so I would suggest really putting aside any anxieties or doubts and just having fun with the children. Be open and confident about your own ideas and skills and don’t be afraid to ask for help. I didn’t speak any German before arriving at the camps and although I didn’t find this to be an issue, I would recommend future interns to learn a little before arriving, even if it’s just a few phrases! Finally, bring a good camera because you’ll want to take loads of pictures of the amazing landscape!