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The story of Paul: our SHL volunteer
10:00 in the morning – I enter the office, drop my bag and walk straight into the kitchen to prepare a coffee, seeing who else is in the office and having a small chat. My name is Paul Meuleneers, I am 23 years old and from a town called Krefeld in Germany. After graduating from university with my Bachelors degree, I now work as a volunteer for NGO ATINA - a partner of my sending organisation Schüler Helfen Leben. One month ago I moved to Belgrade and will spend the next year living, learning, working, laughing and enjoying this city that I already feel good in now. For now, I mostly join workshops of ATINA or teach english to two refugee boys in the office. I go to Reva, the Roma community and try to be as helpful as possible. Mostly the children teach me at least as much as I can teach them – one could say that we exchange knowledge: I try to teach math and colours and days of the week to them and they teach me serbian, just by keeping on speaking to me even though I get only a fraction of what they are telling me. Besides than that I also go the maternal home and will be going to Krnjača Refugee Camp, supporting the workshops there. Besides joining workshops and teaching english I really enjoy the office atmosphere: it is almost always crowded and chaotic but at the same time lively and colourful. There are always people around helping me or having a small chat. And if I need some time on my own I can always take the new office-dog out for a walk. I am really happy that I get the chance to move to Belgrade and work with ATINA and all of its impressive, engaged and energetic staff. I am learning something new about the topics and fields ATINA is working in and about myself almost every day and really enjoy the atmosphere both of the team and the city. I do look forward to the coming months already and hope to get a better inside view into ATINA, its working fields and to find my place in the office and the city.