You received support from the Pi Youth Association, as your sending organization and joined an EVS project in Iceland. You came back to Turkey from this 12-month project in September 2018. We would like to share your story with other friends in order to have a little chat with you, giving, at the same time, an exemple to the other young friends who have not yet joined EVS. Let’s start with our questions.
1) How did you find out about EVS and how did you apply for this project?
I heard about EVS, but I wouldn’t have the time to look at the project. Nevertheless, I was a member of the social media groups on EVS and received notifications. I was not interested, as most of the people who were following the pages and were not usually opening. That was the situation until I saw the name of the country that drew my attention.
Even though it’s been months since I came back from a 10-day trip to Iceland, I couldn’t stop thinking about it and I used to accept that only years later should I be given another opportunity to visit this country and I was focusing on my daily life. I was following everything about Iceland on social media, and I was continually downloading pictures of Iceland in my phone gallery.
One day when I was surfing the Internet, one of the pages I followed saw the title of an EVS opportunity in Iceland. I guess I’m locked in the screen for a few minutes. I opened the link, the project was on the environment, topic that I was already interested in; I already had a one-month volunteer experience on the environment even if it was not EVS. I mean, I was quite fit for this project. However, the application process had only been closed for two days. I had a CV in English but I had to write a motivation letter, prepare a video, and answer questions. While writing the name of the project on the search engine, I was trying to find out who they were, what they were doing.
Pi Youth Association…
I guess everybody knew it and I thought I didn’t know. I was very impressed by their activities, volunteers and multicolored environment and I asked myself how could I not hear anything about them, as I was living in the same city – Izmir. In short, I wrote an e-mail in which I explained them that if they were my sending organization in this project, they would make a lot of contributions to me. On the same day, I received an answer saying that they would be my sending organization in this project and all the projects I would apply.
For all the documents required for the application, I first looked for examples on the Internet in English and looked at the elements I needed to pay attention to, but I never did copy and paste. I wrote to myself, forcing myself to be a little better than the examples I saw by applying it to my project. In addition, I firstly wrote everything in a Word document in order for the information not to be lost in case of an error encountered while sending my application form. I thought it would be useful to take security measures because the articles are too long. It wasn’t necessary to make a video, but I knew I had to prepare. Because I knew that this kind of compulsive but compelling wishes was meant to separate people who had applied to try their luck from those who were really eager to join and work on the project.
Moreover, the video was the best opportunity to show my face and prove my level of English. That’s why I took my arms for the video. The video part was as troublesome as I expected. I had to memorize a paragraph in English and then read it in a minute, then pretend to speak of myself as I didn’t think but think myself. But even if I read it completely, I had a bitter expression as if I was constantly trying to focus. I had to do a lot of attempts to fix this. But I finally made it.
We also had questions for the project. I wrote 3 of these in my own head because I had a lot of knowledge about the environment and my past experiences in Iceland. However, it is necessary for a person who is not so dominant in subjects to learn about them at the general culture level and to influence the other side. After a while, I received an e-mail from the project mentor stating that they wanted to make a Skype conversation with me. I kept talking English in front of the mirror. No matter how good English people speak, if they don’t speak it for a long time they start to forget. I also set up the camera so that I was facing the big screen against the small screen. After all, I would always see the face of my mentor if I were accepted, but at that moment I thought how I looked more important, and I thought I could get excited if I looked directly at the mentee.
We started talking with the mentor, we talked for a while before greeting and meeting questions. Since I had difficulty in understanding the Icelandic accent, which was pretty hard, I asked him to repeat what he said a few times, and I was a little upset and stuttered. Then I thought I should change the word to prove that it was not, and here we talked about the warm Aegean, still wearing a t-shirt from the Mediterranean climate, whereas I mentioned that it was a sweater. I asked about the climate there, so I increased my sincerity and I had the chance to show my own language skills. Then she asked me what I expected from the project and what I understood. I’ve already said that I’ve already mentioned this stuff in my head. My mentor said he would explain the result the next day and that he was pleased to meet me. I said the same thing and the interview was over.
The next day when I received the mail I was accepted in the canteen of the department while sitting by myself in a moment of happiness to drown in tears and I will never forget how everyone looked at me. I wanted this project very much, but I didn’t realize that I wanted so much. Then I spent the rest of the day with a laugh and I replied, “I’m going to Iceland,” I replied to everyone that was saying “hi” to me. That was a very funny day.
Here is the European Volunteer Service, and all the things and emotions that this experience made me feel were beyond awesomeness. Very little experience in life can bring this feeling to life, so EVS is very special and it is an experience that every person should have.
The interview will continue soon…