Sonja Panzer

Age: 27

Country of origin: Germany

Glen Participant in 2010

Internship: Early childhood education in South Africa

Current occupation: active in the „Organisation of international youth and experts”

Already the preparation seminars were an important experience for me. There were people from so many different cultural and professional backgrounds that seemed to share one value: they all believed in the life-long need of learning. I was interested in volunteer work in Africa in general, but the reason why I chose to leave with GLEN was the European dimension of the network. I was very curious to find out what it would be like to work within a European tandem.

And once I arrived in South Africa, my experience gained yet another dimension. One of my big passions is break-dancing and graffiti. In the hip-hop community in Cape Town I had the chance to meet people who share my lifestyle. When I came back to Germany I decided to invite the artists I had befriended in South Africa to come to my hometown. GLEN supported me in realizing this project as my Global Education Activity. In June artists from Brazil, South Africa and Germany all came together in Nuremberg for an event that we decided to call Ubuntu. We had workshops, discussions and concerts around the topic „Hip-Hop as a way of expression for the socially disadvantaged“. In a way it can be selfish to do a volunteer service abroad. You get to learn so much and you see so much but many times there is no chance to give something back or to pass on your knowledge. This time I was able to change this: I was able be a guest in South Africa and then be a host in Germany in return. And by inviting the South African artists I was also able to give something to my local community in Bavaria. Not so many people from my town actually travel that far. It was really new for them to see someone rap in Kausa or Portuguese. It gave them the possibility to maybe broaden their perspective a bit. This is also something I learned from GLEN: how to organize events in a way that is more sustainable. I’ve organized many concerts before, but it was the first time that I asked myself who I am actually reaching with my concerts and whether I am actually making a difference or whether I am only entertaining.

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