ON THE TRAIL OF ONE’S OWN LIFE

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 

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