Translated by Herbert Meck
By Bianca Bär
“What steps have I taken in my life so far? Where am I now? And where do I want to go from here?” These were the questions our club visitors got to the bottom of during our orientation weekend.
In mid-June, a group of young women set out to explore their own lives. A grant from the Connecting Worlds Foundation made the two-day orientation weekend at ClubIn possible. Like most of the visitors to ClubIn, the participants of the workshop have only been living in Munich for a short time. Some came to Germany as au pairs, others as international students. They had a clear idea of their life plans for a long time and pursued their goals ambitiously. But the experiences they have had here in Munich have changed some of them very much in a short time. So much so that they decided to organise their professional and private lives differently than originally planned. That may sound liberating at first, but some were also overwhelmed by the apparent variety of possibilities. A sense of disorientation spread. In addition, after the euphoria of the first months in the new country, there was the feeling that they still had a long way to go.
The orientation workshop at ClubIn was therefore about (re)discovering one’s own strengths and abilities using methods of biography work according to LebensMutig e.V. Dealing with their own past, present and future helps the young women to better understand and accept themselves. In this way, they can better recognise opportunities in the present, shape their own lives now and in the future more consciously according to their personal ideas and also master difficult phases more easily.
At the beginning of the workshop, the young women let objects that made their first time in Germany easier speak for themselves: the necklace from a friend from their home country, a bracelet with memories of beautiful places, a bunch of keys with pendants that stand for loved ones. The participants realise: these objects stand for a social network that carries them – especially in situations of uncertainty.
Afterwards, the young adults asked each other what new things they had learned since arriving in Germany. One participant recognised that she had already settled in so well. She now helps other newcomers to Munich to find their way around: “I didn’t realise how much I had already achieved.“
Finally, the club visitors started to plan their future. It is important to note that in order to actually get closer to one’s goals, it is necessary to first plan small
steps that can be easily implemented. Some decided to spend less time on social media, others put researching professions or translating important documents on their to-do list.
In addition to looking back at their own past, the women found it particularly enriching to meet peers in similar life situations. “It inspired me to hear your stories. It gave me ideas for my own life,” said one participant. The group grew even closer during the communal meal and cosy evening around the campfire. Games such as completing a course blindfolded also strengthened trust among each other. The women drew a comparison to life: “Some simply run bravely towards their future and don’t hesitate for long. They are less afraid of obstacles and problems. Others are more cautious and consider every step carefully.” After the weekend, the club visitors were surprised at how well they got to know each other – and themselves – in such a short time.
Author: Bianca Bär
Photos by Deyna Bobadilla