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Marius comes to Cumnock

In 2015 Social Work student Marius Polak from the Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University made the trip from Stuttgart to Cumnock; a town in Ayrshire where the social enterprise Yipworld welcomed him for a 3-month work placement.

Article submitted by Eurodesk UK Partner Yipworld. 

 

"As my second semester started I noticed that it was time to search for an organisation for my work placement. I’m a big fan of travelling so it was clear to me that I wanted to spend that time abroad. After doing some research on my University's website I had decided that I’d like to go to Scotland.

 

The programme at Yipworld looked very varied with many different aspects of social work. After a few e-mails I got the confirmation that I could spend my placement in Scotland. I was thrilled. After chatting via e-mail and making sure to organize everything well in beforehand it was time to meet the Development Director of Yipworld Janice Hendry, who came to visit Stuttgart for a week at the end of the semester. It was great to meet up before I left, as it gave me a better idea as to what I’d be expecting. Now all I had to do was pack my bags and get prepared for the journey.

 

My first impressions were just wonderful: Friendly people, sunshine, temperatures at around 20 °C and great hosts. I arrived at Yipworld early in the morning and got a warm welcome by my new colleagues. I was also shown the surrounding towns of Cumnock such as New Cumnock and Kilmarnock which gave me a nice insight to the communities that surround Yipworld. I got to experience many different aspects of the work at Yipworld, such as the Drop-in Zone which is an after school program for kids. We picked the kids up from the school across the street and took them to our youth centre where they could participate in different activities such as playing pool or Play Station, cooking all kinds of different dishes, drawing or football and hockey. There were different activities offered every day by various staff members. These activities included all kinds of contests, such as dance contests, target practice or decorating the recreation room for special occasions such as Halloween or Christmas.


I’ve gotten insight into various fields in which Yipworld operates. There is the employability programme, where people of all age are being helped in order to find a job. It was really interesting to compare the way the job search works in Scotland with how it works in Germany. And it’s not as different as I had expected it to be. Every Wednesday I’d go to three different schools, together with a few colleagues to teach children about different things. One of the most pleasant experiences I’ve had during my stay was giving German lessons in a neighbouring town. I spent one month visiting the school once a week for 3 hours to teach German to three different classes with children at the ages from 8 to 11. They were really excited and eager to learn the language and I was asked many kinds of different questions about Germany, our culture, landscape, the weather and, of course, the language itself. With the help of an interactive learning programme the kids managed to learn simple sentences such as telling their name and age or to describe some different weather conditions. 


Aside from the different kinds of work I was able to do and experience the Scottish culture and landscape outside of work. I was taken to the Isle of Arran for example, which is a beautiful island west of Scotland. I also had the luxury of getting shown Edinburgh by one of my co-workers at Bridges Project, who knows a lot about the city and a few nice areas which many tourists don’t usually get to see. 

 

Altogether, I’d like to say: It was totally worth it! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time in Scotland, made new friends and gained a lot of experience in the field of social work, as well as language and general communication skills. Thanks to my co-workers I got to experience the culture as well as the stunning landscape. I recommend Scotland to anyone who’s thinking about travelling abroad for their work placement."