My name is Torsten and im 26 years old. I come from Germany, exactly near from Nuremberg. I worked 6 years until I decided to study again. I finished my studies in 2012. Now im Technican for environmental protection.

I went to Colombia with the organization AFS.  I made this step especially for the life – and work experience.

I am living in Sogamoso, Boyaca at the moment. It’s a pretty quiet place but for me it is my new home now. I love it and I really enjoy to stay here.

I am working in Tota, near the “laguna de tota”, in a school where I am supporting  the English classes and teaching environmental protection.  The first weeks there were pretty difficult. My Spanish wasn’t available yet.  I could talk more or less with the other teachers but it was impossible to talk with my students…

My first 2 months in the school weren’t “pure joy”. I didn’t get the reason… I felt like a stranger who shouldn’t be there. I don’t know when it changed exactly, I guess in one of the many celebrations here (oh damn… they have so many of them), but one day, I felt that I arrived finally there with my mind.

After realizing that, every day at school was like a day of vacation. It was like meeting friends every day. It didn’t feel like work anymore. I enjoyed every hour there, and I am still doing it.

And now… after everything seems perfect I almost have to say “goodbye” again. That’s a very sad part and at the moment I really don’t want think in that.

About the experience in my house with my family I just can say: “It was perfect, it is perfect and doesn’t matter when I will come back… it will be perfect”. I love my family the same like I love my family in Germany. It’s like I already said: I love them!! And they love me. It’s like having now a family part in Colombia, like it is my real family.

I am feeling very very comfortable here. I don’t like everything… of course but neither do I in my family in Germany. It’s the same with my work now. I don’t want and I can’t think in my resignation now.

It’s difficult to say what the best experience was in my stay here. That whole big experience is just… fantastic. That’s the best experience I can imagine. I am talking about my new family I have now, the many friends I gained, the happy faces of my students in the morning when I go to school…

I could talk about 1000 things more… but like I already said. It’s the stay in total who made the best experience in my live now!

Well, yes. Now everything is great. But the first months were a bit difficult like I already wrote above. My family is really direct and opened minded but I met here a lot of people who aren’t.

Sometimes I went to Tota (It’s like a hour drive to Tota and a hour drive back) just for realizing that classes got canceled in this day. The other teachers didn’t even thought about telling me that, even if it was clear since few days. Something like that is really annoying… seriously…

Another point what bothered me a lot is like when you are talking to people (I know my Spanish still isn’t the best) and they just doing like they understood all and telling you: “ah ok fine”. Then they are telling you a completely other thing. And if you are going to correct them and you are going to tell them what you are really meant, they are telling the same crap version like they said 2 minutes before. It is like they don’t care what you said… They just have their story already in their head and don’t give a thing about what you said…

But after a while you can handle that. You just need sometimes a lot of patience with some of them. It’s not like that everyone is like that, but for sure you will meet some of them if you go to Colombia.

Of course there are a lot more differences between my culture and the Colombian culture. Some are better and some are worse. For example I like a lot the cohesion inside the family. The relation is much closer than in German families. The “fiestas” are pretty awesome too. There is more attention on dancing than on drinking. Also I like a lot more the radio program. It is not filled with useless conversations and comments from people who are talking because they don’t like silence. In Germany they are playing all the bad pop songs again and again every hour… You start a day thousand times better with a fresh salsa song .

Some things I don’t like that much or better said: “Things which are strange for me”, the people are less independent then in Germany.  There is nothing more annoying if a 30 years old person lives with his/her parents and still has to take permissions for everything.

I learned here a lot. I am not talking about some new technics for teaching or something like that.

No, I learned more to never giving up and not to cry if something bad happened. Now I try to fix things instead of wasting time with not feeling awesome J

Colombians, especially the people on the countryside, are quite tough and I hope that I am bit more too.

Torsten,  Alemania.