Travel the world as a volunteer
To follow my last post about my experience as a volunteer in France, here’s my second experience in Vienna!
While I was in Paris figuring out what to do next, I went to Worldpackers website again and started to look for places where someone would take me as a volunteer. Immediately a hostel from Vienna answered me and after a few messages I was accepted to join them in 3 weeks. I did some trips during this time through Germany, Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland which I’ll share with you soon.
Hostel Ruthensteiner – Vienna – Austria
As a volunteer they were offering me a accommodation in a mix shared dorm with other volunteers, breakfast and use of the laundry for free in exchange for 5 hours per day, 5 days per week working at the breakfast, keeping the kitchen clean, supporting the reception and cooking for the guests every Thursday evening.
It was such an amazing experience! I don’t even know how to start writing about it! First of all, Paola, the person responsible for the volunteers is one the most amazing persons I’ve ever met, extremely kind and caring and super easy to talk to.
Setting up the breakfast
As for the job, we always worked at the breakfast in pairs and it was super easy and chill. The only thing is that you have to get up a little bit early to buy the bread and set up the breakfast which was sometimes hard for me when I was spending my whole night partying or just awake due to my insomnia. We’d start serving the breakfast at 7:30 am until 10am, clean up everything, make some fresh lemonade during the summer or apple cinnamon tea for the winter and finish everything easily around 11:30 am giving us plenty of time to explore the city on foot or by bikes from the hostel (by the way, I’ve had some of the most hilarious adventures on those which I’ll definitely share with you on future posts).
Also, there’s a bar inside the hostel so it was hard not to have at least a beer or a coquetel everyday specially when volunteers have 50% on their first drink. Sometimes we had more than a drink for free, but that’s a secret!
Pay as you wish
As for the cooking evenings we’d always try to cook in pairs in alternate weeks as there were four or five volunteers. Back then we had all different ethnicities working there such as Portuguese, Brazilian, Taiwanese, Colombian, Argentinian, Polish, Mexican and Moldovan so sometime we’d cook typical dishes from our country. The money for the food was given by the hostel, around €30 to cook for approximately 20 people. The guests would pay as they wanted for the food and we’d keep the money for ourselves!
Helping at the reception
As the high season was over, they didn’t need two guys working at the reception anymore so one of the volunteers would help them from 8 am until 12 pm doing the check out, getting maps for the guest and helping them finding and getting to the main touristic points. If you have any personal experiences you are more than welcome to share it with them.
Overall the whole schedule was more up to the volunteers to organize as it was extremely flexible as long as you ask for your days off in advance you’ll definitely be able to go on that trip you always wanted to either inside or outside Austria.
I was having such an amazing time that I end up extending my stay from a month to almost three months, which made me getting into some trouble as I overstayed my 90 days in Schengen by accident (I’ll share this story later too!).
As a downside, I’d say that staying this whole time living in a hostel can be a little bit exhausting since you don’t have much privacy and I was starting to get a little bit annoyed with the same questions over and over like:
“Where’re you from?”
If I answered that I was Taiwanese there wouldn’t have any more questions for the first 5 minutes and then they’ll end up noticing there was something different about the way I behave and some people would start looking at me figuring out what was it. If I said Brazilian I’d get the “you don’t look Brazilian” look.
“Where’re you going to now?”
“Are you a volunteer here? Cool! How does it works?”
It’s fun at the beginning but after a while I was spending more time inside my room whenever I was at the hostel. But, if you’re having any doubts about going on trips as a volunteer, I’d totally recommend this hostel to start with. The whole time I spent in Vienna was a life changing experience and I’ve met some of the most wonderful people in the world there!