Deutschland | Schulprogramm 2007/08 / Freiwilligendienst 2015/16

My college exchange year shaped my way of being, from being able to understand other people to being able to venture into more interesting situations in my life. This experience has given me the opportunity to work in areas where language and intercultural experience is of great relevance.  This school year allowed me to start finding myself, to be part of a society that is more open than my home country. Also, I had the opportunity to meet people who opened the doors of their home and their family, to feel secure and free in many aspects.

When I returned to my home country, having learned all of this in Germany allowed me to open my emotions and feelings with more people, to make stronger and more sincere friendships. I faced many difficulties and sadness but little by little, the decisions I made have shaped me as a person and have led me to discover beautiful people in my life as well as to get to know places and spaces of great learning.
 13 years after this experience, I can say that I have been able to love with intensity, to cry, to laugh, to make mistakes, to learn more about myself and to grow as a person. Germany has become my second home. My host family is still as present in my life as before. I have seen my little sister grow from a baby to a teenager. My parents are there for necessary advice or to share in my life decisions.
 My exchange year shaped me in many ways. I had the opportunity to know myself and grow, this experience helped me learn, fall in love for the first time and express my feelings with joy. To be me. My host family was with me and they opened their arms to me with much love.

I first heard about QueerTausch from a volunteer who was at the beginning of creating the group at AFS. During my first preparation in my home country in 2007, the content of the seminars was not much, just general talk about how in other countries the topic of sexuality was much more open. For that reason, I was happy to learn that in AFS Germany, the content on sexuality/sexual identity was much more extensive and supportive than before.
 During my Freiwilligendienst year in Hamburg in 2015, I had the opportunity to support some of the content of the 18+ Incoming program, including some topics on sexuality. I am happy to know that the organization supports people who are part of an intercultural exchange to get to know themselves better, to understand that who we are and our sexual identity is part of who we are. We live it every day and it influences our relationship with others. Affection, closeness, allowing oneself to be loved and to be happy in society, despite difficulties, is what makes us special.

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