DE   |   EN
Portrait of Carina Krömer in an indoor swimming pool (Photo: Schwimm Kultur)
05.12.2023 from 
Campus + City
Serving society after work

There are many different ways to volunteer - from caring for senior citizens or in animal welfare, to helping young people and refugees, to working in the volunteer fire brigade. Many university employees also do voluntary work after work and give something back to society. Carina Kröber, a research assistant from the Faculty of Human Sciences, has launched the "Schwimm Kultur" project, which can save lives. This is a swimming course for adults, especially for international students.

Not only are more and more children unable to swim properly, many adults are also unable to stay afloat safely. In India, for example, the majority of people cannot swim as it is not taught at school. "The tragic event last year, when an Indian student at our university drowned in the River Elbe, illustrates just how important it is to address the issue of international students' swimming ability," says Carina Kröber. As the sports course "Swimming for non-swimmers", which is offered every semester by the sports centre, is very popular and is mainly attended by Indian and Pakistani students, capacities are quickly exhausted. This is where the "Swimming Culture" project comes in, which offered even more students the opportunity to learn to swim in several courses last semester, with English-language and educational support.

In addition to swimming lessons, participants also received network meetings, close support and learning materials that emphasise the benefits and necessity of good swimming skills. The project therefore not only promotes swimming skills, but also integration, soft skills and mental and physical health. However, the end of the swimming courses does not mean the end of the project. Carina Kröber and her team carry out scientific research by analysing evaluations on the satisfaction and success of the swimming course - all on a voluntary basis.

Why is she doing this? "We shape life not just for ourselves, but with each other and for all of us together," she says, adding: "Volunteering is not a job, I see it as our natural responsibility." Even at a young age, the research assistant has shown social commitment, be it in youth welfare, counselling, in various associations or as a hospice companion.

Honoring Magdeburg's volunteer work

In order to make voluntary work more visible and to honour it accordingly, the Magdeburger of the Year is voted for every year. The vote is initiated by the Magdeburger Volksstimme newspaper, where you can vote for your favourite until 31 December. This year, Carina Kröber is also up for election with her project: "There is so much heart and soul in this project, which is why I feel very honoured to be up for election this year and am happy about any kind of support".

The research assistant has the following tip for anyone considering volunteering: "You have to allow yourself to develop understanding and empathy, especially when others urgently need us. As soon as we discover this gentleness in our hearts, all we have to do in the next step is find the project close to our hearts and we can get started". This does not always have to be a new project of our own. Many organisations and existing initiatives are happy to lend a helping hand.

"You just have to choose what makes your heart beat faster. This beating, euphoric heart is exactly what volunteering gives you back again and again," says Carina Kröber.

Author: Catherine Birke