Turning Tables
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Chapter 4: My new life as a trainee

Vocational school

By now I have started my apprenticeship and have completed two weeks of school, which left me behind with mixed feelings.
To start with, it is amazing to be going to school again.
There are 36 students in my class, most of whom are girls. I am one of the eight guys only! Most of my classmates are around my age, but there are some who are older than 30 and others who have just turned 15 too. There is a lot of diversity in my class, and the represented nationalities are a colourful mix from all over the world. Besides many Germans, I have classmates with Turkish, Greek, Romanian, Russian and Finish roots.

There is even another Afghan. Sometimes I bring him Lawashak to school, traditional candy from our home country. It consists of a chewy gum paste with little pieces of dried fruits in it.
Its sweet-sour taste always brings up good memories from my childhood. When I am chewing on it, even the most exhausting math class becomes bearable. 

During the Step-IN classes I’ve learned a lot that prepared me for vocational school

I am having loads of fun with my classmates, but the classes themselves are often really difficult.
There are some topics that we have already approached during the Step-IN program. But others are completely alien to me. In one of our biology classes for example, we learned about the chemical composition of proteins. Even for many German natives this was a real challenge. For me however, these kinds of things are even harder. When I looked into our biology book for the first time, I hadn’t the foggiest idea of what was written there. Never in my life have I dealt with chemical formulas before. And now I am supposed to understand all the complicated explanations and expert vocabulary in German, a language that I only started speaking a few years ago.
Believe me when I say that it really isn’t that easy – at all!

Luckily, Turning Tables keeps on supporting me.

Part of the Step-IN program is our weekly extra tutoring with Mrs Eichinger.
Here we meet up with all the former participants and discuss topics that we learn in vocational school. Simply knowing that I am not the only one, experiencing difficulties is already helping me a lot. Moreover, Mrs Eichinger also explains us complicated words and gives us advice on how we can learn in the most efficient way. To do that, she invests a lot of time in each participant individually and takes our struggles seriously.
It feels good to know that there is someone who supports me.

But the best thing is that I am finally seeing my friends from the Step-IN program regularly again. Due to the start of our apprenticeships, we have all been quite busy and haven’t seen each other that often anymore. I am more than happy that Turning Tables brought us back together again!

Me and my friends from the Step-IN program

Apprenticeship

After being in Germany for a while, I recognized that there is a lack of specialised staff and that they are looking for labour force and trainees in gastronomy, as well as in many other industries.
Actually I am kind of surprised by that, as there are loads of different jobs and opportunities to make a career in the kitchen, restaurants or hotels. If you like being in contact with other people, preparing and cooking meals and working in an international environment, you can easily find a matching, interesting job in gastronomy.

My apprenticeship profession is hotel specialist.

What I find the most fascinating about this job is how diversified it is. There are so many different things to learn and do, and you meet new people every day.

Often coming from the most varied of countries. Especially at the airport, where my hotel, the Hilton Munich Airport, is located. I think that I’ll never be bored at work.

On the whole, I will be working in five different areas as a hotel specialist. Therefore, during my apprenticeship, I will be switching departments every few months, in order to learn all the different tasks.
When I am thinking about people who work in a hotel, I first think about the employees who welcome the guests in the lobby, undertake the check-in, explain them how to get to their room, inform them about certain offers and answer the phone.
But housekeeping, for example, is something that a hotel specialist is doing on a regular basis as well. Clean rooms make guests happy. That’s why I’ll be taking care of tasks such as changing bed sheets, wiping dust and refilling bath room products, too.
Many guests like to dine in the hotel during their stay. Most hotels consequently have their own restaurant. For this reason, hotel specialists also learn several kitchens- and restaurant-related tasks. In the kitchen itself, hotel specialists usually support the chefs in preparing the meals. In the restaurant, they take guests‘orders, serve, recommend, take care and sort out the bills.
Another field of duty is the work in the office. Here, everything gets organised and administered. Accounting and human resources are two important areas, in which I will be working as a hotel specialist. As they are absolutely new for me, I am quite excited how it will be.

My apprenticeship is divided into work and school.
Usually, I will be having two weeks of school followed by two weeks of work. This way I can translate the learned theory into practical behaviour. So far, I have only been working for a few days, as my apprenticeship started off with school classes. During these days, me and all the other trainees, didn’t „really work” but mainly got introduced to the company. We for example did a rally through the hotel and the airport, in order to get to know the company and our work environment.
This actually was a lot of fun, and I am very happy to have such nice and open-minded colleagues and supervisors.

More than ever, I am motivated to do this apprenticeship and I am really looking forward to all the many experiences, I am going to have as a trainee.

No worries, I will obviously keep you updated about it. So stay tuned – this wasn’t the last thing you have heard from me!

See you soon!

An extended thank you to our sponsors, UNO-Flüchtlingshilfe, PIMCO foundation and Referat für Arbeit der Landeshauptstadt München: Münchner Beschäftigungs- und Qualifizierungsprogramm (MBQ), who made the Step-IN program possible.

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