zis is a non-profit organization that has been operating for more than 60 years to give scholarships for study trips to young people between 16 and 20 years (www.zis-reisen.de).
My first trip took me to Scotland in 1997, where I worked on the subject “Fishing on the west coast”. In order to get there, I worked on a freight ship and cycled 1.400km across England and Scotland. In 1999, I went on a second trip to study the topic “Scientific Whaling” in Iceland – a very political topic. I even worked on a whaling station.
In retrospect, the experiences I had made on these trips were invaluable for my development. There were numerous crises to cope with and it was necessary to be creative and to improvise. Skills that are very helpful in this world.
Having had a childhood with some challenges, I learned, that I can drive alone 1.700km by bike and get wet every single day without losing faith in my project. I have learned that I can spend 4 weeks with only 300 € and still had a good time. I have learned how it is to be threatened by deportation and how to turn this around into getting an interview with the State President.
I’ve understood for myself that limitations are only constructs in my head and these insights I would allow as many young people as possible.