Since I’ve been in Germany, I decided to do some volunteer work. I am volunteering at a German school helping to teach English. I am doing this in order to get my TESL/TEFL (teaching English as a second/foreign language). I have learned a lot while working with the students here. It is really amazing to see the difference between the education system here and the one back home. One of the most interesting differences is that there is no security at all at schools. I was able to just walk in without having to talk to anyone at all. Kids are also allowed to leave for lunch starting from grade 5! It’s crazy to think how much independence students have here.
Aside from this, the most striking thing that I have noticed is the awareness that students have. They are taught so much about America and world politics that they probably know more about our political situation than a lot of our own citizens. I was answering questions for the students, and I was expecting the standard “What’s your favorite German food?” etc. Instead, I got questions like, “Is it possible to be proud of your country when it has a history of doing such bad things?” “If corporations play such a large roll in politics, isn’t that more of an oligarchy than a democracy?” or any number of questions about gun control. It seems like these students are far more aware than American students, when it comes to american politics, and that was very surprising to me.
I would really recommend that anyone who is interested in teaching to volunteer at a school while they study abroad. All you have to do is email the school and ask. Usually, they are very willing to have you come help out. You will not regret it!