Last month we were joined by nine young people from German volunteer placement organisations Sozialer Friedensdienst (known as SFD) and Internationaler Bund Volunteers‘ Abroad Programs (IB VAP).
The volunteers will spend one year with SYHA helping out across the network whilst exploring and experiencing all that Scotland has to offer. Their reasons for embarking on a placement vary - some wish to improve their English, some are looking to learn how to be independent and some want to immerse themselves in a different culture and gain valuable life experiences.
After completing the placement with us, most of the volunteers will go on to university and we hope that their experiences and knowledge gained will assist them in their studies, careers and personal interests.
Jonathan, from SFD, shares his experience of his first weeks as an SYHA volunteer...
Hello my name is Jonathan, I'm 19 years old and volunteering with SYHA for one year. At the moment I am at my first placement in Inverness.
One weekend in September my manager and I made our way up to the beautiful surroundings of Glen Affric Youth Hostel. After a two hour bus ride we started our walk in Morvich and headed straight out into the Scottish Highlands. After about an hour’s walk we started going uphill and it became a little bit exhausting but it was definitely worth the view!
From there on I felt like Sam and Frodo making their way up to Mount Doom (well, that’s if Sam and Frodo could have made the trip in one day). However the real Mount Doom is nothing compared to the youth hostel at Glen Affric. Hanne, the manager, and only member of the staff, welcomed us with a warm cup of tea and some cake.
Two solar panels on the roof and a wind turbine provide power to the youth hostel and there is access to drinking water which has been filtered three times and tastes delicious. Since the wind turbine does not deliver enough power alone for light, in the evening we had to light up some candles.
After spending a night in one of the most interesting bunks I had ever seen we set off the next morning to walk back to Morvich, this time accompanied by Gemma (who works at Glen Nevis Youth Hostel).
Our way back to Morvich took us about five hours, through more amazing landscapes, and I found it not as exhausting as the way to Glen Affric. We took the bus back to Inverness and, after I was finally back at the youth hostel, it was a pleasure to have a warm shower and head to bed.
For more information on Glen Affric, visit our website.
Glen Affric Youth Hostel re-opens in April 2016.
Biography for Hostelling Scotland
Scotland's best known network of youth hostels in stunning city & rural locations. As a not-for-profit organisation, we encourage guests to join Hostelling Scotland. Members enjoy a range of exclusive benefits including dual membership of Hostelling International, providing access to more than 4,000 youth hostels in over 90 countries worldwide. Membership and guest overnight income supports our charitable youth programmes.