A real life story from: Newton Dee
I always wanted to do a gap year after school. It was clear, that I go to Scotland to follow this plan. First, I wanted to do a cultural gap year but then i figured out, that this is not common in Great Britain.
However, I did some research on the internet and found Newton Dee via EOS. I chose Newton Dee, because I found the mixture between cultural events and projects (like the play or the festival) and the social work very interesting.
A warm welcome
When I arrived in the community I needed to stay of course in quarantine [due to coronavirus] with 2 other new Co-workers together in a small house. During this time we had the possibility to get to know each other. We also got a few socially distanced visits from other coworkers, who were already there for a year. In total it was a warm and nice welcome from everyone!
My house was so lovely when I came out of quarantine! My house coordinators and I had such a nice conversation and the villagers were lovely too. I have got a very pretty room, which is connected to a terrace, which is very nice in summertime!
One month later arrived the second coworker for my house. We have a wonderful friendship, and we are working so well together, which is really important when you are working six days of a week together.
I’m two mornings in the house and cook, which is very nice, because we have usually just one cooking day. But when I told my house coordinators, that I really enjoy cooking and that I really want to be one more morning in the house, they said, that it is no problem and we arranged it.
Another day I’m in the house in the afternoon. My task is to clean the house, which is honestly not my favourite but it needs to be done.
The other days of the week I’m in the workshop: the bakery and the confectionery (only Monday morning), which I enjoy very much. I really like that we have freedom, to share our own thoughts and ideas and we got the responsibility to show the villagers what they can improve. Baking itself is also huge fun (especially the buns!).
We are ‘on’ a few evenings in the house during the week, which includes the supper preparation and helping the villagers get ready for bed. This can be sometimes a bit challenging but mostly it is fine and we are always finished around 8pm.
We also do not need to be aware during the night, because our house coordinators are always in the house in the evening, so we can meet some friends in the village.
At the weekend we need to work on Saturdays, where we do some baking or crafting with the villagers and have some quality time, which I enjoy very much. You can have a totally different contact with the villager and can learn from them too. I learned for example from a villager to stay calm and be grounded. But I also learned here how to organise a household, which is very helpful for my future life.
Best decision I ever made
In the end I must say, that this gap year was the best decision I have ever made, because it gave me so much and during COVID it was a paradise, because we could meet each other and we got a car to go to different places together. The community always found a solution for the festivals to celebrate them, which was also very nice for me. It was really interesting to see how we celebrate Christmas, which is a bit different than in Germany.
I would really recommend to everyone to have a social gap year in Newton Dee because it makes your life so much richer!
Tim Bühring, short term volunteer from Germany