Maria in Vienna

So, here we are. My EVS is almost over – time flies – and it has been a fantastic experience for me. I’ve learned a lot during these past six months as, for the first time in my life, I worked at the Grenzenlos office on a regular basis and supported or was responsible for various tasks – I improved my Microsoft Excel skills (mission accomplished!). What’s more, I have learned German and some Spanish along the way.

I also experienced how it is to live in a place were almost everything is accessible and you can do things that other people take for granted, like going to the bakery. This was important for me as a disabled person as I realized that I have more possibilities and that I don’t have to worry about the obstacles so much. In the beginning I was amazed and overwhelmed by the things I had to organize, and I had to face the challenges and difficulties that everybody go through in a new country. However, the people from Grenzenlos were always there to support and help me adjust to the new reality. One piece of advice I’d give is: There is no such thing as a stupid question. Always ask, even if you think it’s silly – there is no such thing as “a silly question”. Ask and you will find the solution that will make your life easier.

Through my EVS I have been given the opportunity to explore different aspects of and learn a lot about disability – things I didn’t know about it. This helped me to ‘find my voice’ as a disabled person and to advocate even more the rights of people with disabilities.

Now to the fun part: I fell in love with Vienna! Its architecture and culture. But most importantly I adore Vienna because is one of the most barrier-free cities in Europe. I love wandering around the city or taking the U-bahn to go to the office every day. The Public Transport is disabled friendly (the S-Bahn and the trams can be tricky sometimes)  and one of the easiest and fastest ways to see the city. Furthermore, Vienna has lots of things to see and to do. You can go to museums (the Leopold Museum is my favorite), concerts, swim to the Danube during the summer, go to cafes or just sit by the river or at a park and relax etc. The people here are friendly enough and ready to help.

During my time here I’ve met wonderful people from all over the world with or without disabilities and made many, many new friends. This made me realize that we are all unique, but at the same time that we are not so different from each other after all. I miss everyone so much and I hope to see them again (more travelling coming soon).

Some of my best moments:

  • When I went for the first to Stephansplatz by myself.
  • The Sommernachtskonzert by the Wiener Phihlarmoniker at Schönbrunn
  • A Bauhaus T-shirt
  • The Egon Schiele exhibition at the Leopold Museum
  • The Frida Khalo exhibition at the Hungarian National Gallery in Budapest
  • All the people I met and will never forget
  • Sitting by the Danube
  • Wandering around the old city of Vienna
  • The Brandenburger Tor in Berlin
  • And many, many more…

 

I’m really grateful for this experience as I have learned a lot about myself, but most importantly, I learned that people with disabilities, if they are willing and given the opportunity, can help, contribute and be active members of society. And I’d like to encourage more people to take the opportunity and volunteer. It has been an amazing journey for me.

 

Thank you Grenzenlos!

 

EVS_Sechs Monate in Wien

 

 

 

 

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