After my first day at Taize, I already feel like a part of the community here, thanks to how well we have been accepted.
The dorms are very simple and only come with the basics. There are 6 beds and 6 shelves, one for each person. I have only been here one day and have already made friends with loads of new people from all over europe. The Taizé community is very welcoming and made it very easy to settle in. The mindset of all the people here is that they all want to be as welcoming and as friendly as possible which makes for a great sense of community that you wouldn’t find anywhere else. The fact that everything is so basic makes it easy to get into the swing of things as there is a set routine for every day, this differs greatly to England!
On the first day (monday) we all get sorted into our small bible study groups, which you stay with for most of the week, there is a mix of loads of people from all over the world and it’s a bit embarrassing how good their English is and how basic our own language skills are. Other than that, they have all been lovely and it’s easy to make friends. Within the 14-16 group we spend every afternoon with our groups and we alternate between spending time together and cleaning.
It works a little differently in the 17-24 group.
We are still split into small groups, but they make sure we are all the same age. We don’t have leaders and we are left to talk about the day’s passage by ourselves. There is a lot more independence than the younger bible study groups, and instead of meeting in the afternoon as well, we have work to do around the village. It is lovely to speak to other people our own age and there is the same sense of welcoming and friendliness.
Overall, the convivial atmosphere of Taize is very inviting and includes a host of lovely people, everyone is here usually for the same reasons which makes settling in really straight forward.