Volunteer of the week: Svea Holtz, Gießen, Germany

There’s really very little time to volunteer while studying for a medical degree. But there are some students who manage to do so, to make the world a better place on the side. That’s just what our #Volunteeroftheweek, Svea Holtz (22) has done, having spoken personally to over 800 school children in the past two years. Voluntarily.

Svea, why are you involved?

‘Over the course of my life, I have met a number of people, who smoked their entire lives and are now suffering the ill-effects or have died from them. Of course, we’re not spared that in our degrees and placements. Despite the fact that everyone knows the effects smoking can have, I think a lot of young people don’t see how it relates to them and they’re also not aware of how quickly you can become dependent on or addicted to something.’

What has been the most impactful experience in your time with EAT?

‘The thing that has impacted me the most actually repeats itself with each school visit. When the patients we bring with us speak about themselves and their illnesses during the presentation, the audience goes completely silent and all the children appear to be deeply affected and preoccupied. This silence continues for a short time afterwards and demonstrates that the children really take these stories to heart and have to process them first.’

What do you enjoy about the work?

‘I like the fact that as students we’re on a similar level to the school children and that can make it easier to get their attention. The best compliment I’ve received was when a teacher told us after a seminar that the children in the class weren’t normally so quiet for so long. That gave me the impression that we could really get through to these kids.’

Thank you for the interview.

Photo: Svea Holtz describes the function of the lungs to a group of seventh graders using a model and tells them how the lungs can shrink as a result of smoking. The 22-year-old is in her seventh semester studying Medicine at Justus Liebig University, Gießen.



#Prevention #NoSmoking #School