Children's, Youth &
Community Center

Meet Thalia and her trip to Germany


Thalia Velez is one of the girls who attended SALEM Center with her mother many years ago. Over the years she identified with SALEM and the love for life, she is now a vegetarian. For a long time she volunteered at our center sharing with our children the feeling of being SALEM in the community. After graduating with a degree in Social Communication from the State University of Bolivar, she decided to embark on a journey as an ambassador of Ecuadorian culture and the work of SALEM Ecuador. Thalia’s goal is to return with new ideas and experiences to work with the community. 

She applied to be a volunteer in Germany, through the organization Casa del Mundo. The selection process was long and among so many young people from different organizations, Thalia was chosen. She tells us about her experience until she arrived in Germany.

“From the first day I arrived in Germany it has been a very pleasant experience, I am getting to know and learning a lot of things like the language, food, people, cities and customs that are totally different from those of my country. I was terrified because I didn’t know how hard it would be when I got here. Sometimes what is new and different is a little scary. 

I had to wait more than a year to come and it was desperate because I did not know if it could become a reality, as there were many setbacks like the Covid and a number of papers but now I am here. 

The process was long, I had to apply to be a volunteer at Casa del Mundo with other young people from different organizations and I had to go to an interview to be chosen, after a while I found out that another boy and I had been chosen. When I was accepted I was happy and sad at the same time because it was a big responsibility, I had to be aware that I was going to leave my country for a long time. 

My motivation for volunteering here in Germany was that I wanted to gain new experiences and to learn, because in this way I could also apply my knowledge and skills learned in my country. I also wanted to share the customs and traditions of Ecuador, to give them a perspective of how wonderful it is. 

My farewell to Ecuador was full of hugs and tears with my family, but also with a lot of joy that one day I would return full of experiences and new learning. I was very afraid to leave my family because I knew I would miss them and it would be a long time to see them and hug them again.

Before arriving at my destination I thought a lot about where I would live and where I would volunteer. The language also seemed a bit complicated so I was thinking all the time. When I arrived at my destination I felt a number of emotions that did not fit in me, but the excitement was immense to start with something I always wanted and that moment was being fulfilled. 

After two weeks of quarantine I had to leave for my host family’s house, I came to live with Corinna who means a lot to me, I will get to share with her for a long time. Casa del Mundo always made sure that we felt comfortable, after a few days we had to go out into the real world and find a way to express what we wanted and felt. 

This experience is helping me a lot in my personal life, because every day I learn something new and I feel it makes me a better person. And in my professional life I hope that when I return to Ecuador I can continue with some social service that goes hand in hand with my career. 

I am happy to be able to tell you what I have been doing in Germany in the last months, there are days where I miss Ecuador a lot, its food, weather and my family. But I have decided to spend a nice time and then tell you my experiences and anecdotes that I am facing every day.

To the young people I would tell them not to be discouraged and follow their dreams that it is never too late to achieve them, but the most important thing of all is to be good human beings.

At SALEM we are very happy and proud of Thalia, for being constant in her goals and aspirations. Best of luck and success to Thali!

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