The alarm clock wakes me up without mercy and the everyday routine starts again. I go to school, where I sit for the day, and then go home after eating my lunch. At home I sit by my computer, only leaving it for the night to sleep. No friends, just this repetitive boring life. One day however changes this all; it was the day when our class teacher asked “who wants to join the DofE programme?”
Something inside me, so far hidden, made me join. I used to play football since I was five, however when we moved to a different place I had to give it up, as I had little motivation to join the new team. Thanks to DofE I had to overcome these fears and I asked the team coach whether I could join in and I was surprised to be welcomed by both the coach and the team.
In primary school I used to go to artistic afterschool classes for nine years, however in grammar school I lost this interest for arts. Despite the numerous invites by the choirmaster I resisted to come to the choir, only changing my attitude and visiting the first rehearsal after I entered the DofE programme. I stayed till today and since that time we have performed in Poland, Romania and Serbia. I also became part of a student-written musical, which has performed thirteen times and was seen by thousands of visitors during the wo years of its performance. We also won numerous awards for the musical at different drama festivals. As part of talent development I also joined a History Seminar, where we analysed and organized war journals from the Great War, which brought us the award of the Learned Society of the Academy of Science of Czech Republic.
Thanks to DofE I started to pay more attention to what was happening in my school and I started to follow the many offers for free expeditions and journeys. Joining these groups, I have visited Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Italy and local mountains in the last three years. To point out one expedition that exercised my limits the most, it was our winter camping in snow and frost in Šumava. However, all expeditions taught me that mountains reveal the true self and that one cannot succeed without the help of others. In the future I would like to hike in Armenian Caucasus and to climb the Greek Olympus Mountain.
Two years ago I encountered the offer of the European Union Comenius project to accommodate two foreign students at home and to be hosted by their families as a reward later. I met a Turkish student with whom we are still good friends and I was honoured to spend a week with his family. I started to be more interested in these European projects and I found the Erasmus+ programme, that enabled me to travel through most of Europe and to meet many great people across the continent. This year I even established a new youth group, with which I will be sending students to Turkey and Macedonia next year.
To fulfil the volunteering part of DofE I joined Caritas charity in České Budějovice. It has already been two years that I have been visiting a retirement home, where I try to improve the days of the elderly people, who are often totally dependent on others’ help, being unable to take care of themselves. This year I also started teaching Czech language to asylum seekers. They mostly come from Eastern Europe, however there are also people from Austria, Switzerland or Israel. We start from the very basics, since most of them have no knowledge of the language. In just half a year they learn to read and write in Czech with just minor mistakes, even lectures held in Czech possess no problems for their understanding.
As my story demonstrates, DofE enabled me to enter an amazing new world of opportunity and helped me to be more active, widening my horizons and future perspectives.