10 January 2019

My name is Alissa Erdmann. I am 16 years old and I am from Germany. At the moment I am going to a school called ‘Bischhöfliches Gymnasium Josephinum’ and I will do my A-levels in two years there.

In my school, a placement is planned in grade 11. It goes over three weeks and should be in the social area of work. So, my job was to choose a company and write an application.

What was important for me, when choosing the workplace, was the collaboration with young people. In addition, I am very interested in foreign languages, so I had the idea to combine both things: working with people and apply and expand my language skills. I really wanted to make the most of my placement, so working in a social area while getting to know a new culture and gaining some foreign experience sounded great to me so I decided to do a foreign placement.

Therefore, I contacted a friend of my father because I knew that he organises some exchanges to England. His name is Jupp Gerhardy and he liked my idea of doing a placement in England. He wanted to help me, and it proceeded very quickly. He told me about YMCA because he is in contact with the YMCA Somerset Coast. Then I researched about the community charity and what they do. I was really impressed, that’s why I wrote an application and sent it to the YMCA Somerset Coast. I got a commitment.

Jupp organised a host family where I could live in that time and my parents supported me with the finance. That’s how my placement at YMCA Somerset Coast from the 26.11.18 to the 14.12.18 started.

The manager for my placement was Margarita Tamosaityte and she was really kind. She tried to show me as much as she could, and it worked. I had a really nice time here and met lots of new people. I was almost every day in a different area and all staff members were very welcoming. I could improve my social competency, my skills for responsibility, my self-organisation and I could bring my own ideas. I learned a lot about challenging situations and got to know about new everyday realities and people. I showed a willingness to be responsible towards the people here and I really liked it. The thing I enjoyed the most here were the youth groups. It was really interesting to see how the young people interacted together and it was more than nice to spend some time with them.

The placement at YMCA Somerset Coast has fulfilled all my expectations. I learned a lot and was also independent here in my time. I did my very best and I got to know about the English culture as well. I did not really struggle with the English language but if I had a question or I couldn’t understand some words, everybody was really kind and helped me out. I could have done a placement in Germany, but I thought that a placement at YMCA in Weston-Super-Mare would be more interesting and exciting for me, and I was right.

I would recommend a placement at YMCA to everyone because you get to know about so many things and situations. You meet new people and get to know about their lives and their current circumstances. At YMCA, you can get to know about lots of working areas, so it’s really interesting for everybody and everything is for a good purpose. Also personally I could imagine working in a social area although I didn’t expect to before. In a company like the YMCA, I would always feel comfortable while working and I could really imagine working for YMCA in the future.