Chapter 2: ESC-234 Estonia Muhsin ŞEN

Since 2016, I have attended various youth exchanges and training courses representing Pi Youth Association. Being an ESC volunteer was always something in my mind, but I was waiting for the right time. 2017 was the year of an amazing beginning for me. I started working in a lending society thanks to the score I got from KPSS (Public Personnel Selection Examination). Starting to work after being unemployed for more than one year would relieve me financially and allow me to gain professional work experience. Due to my job, I had to leave İzmir and moved to Aydın (a neighbor city to my hometown). Unfortunately, this meant that I could no longer be with my association PIYA  ‘physically’, but I would continue my work online during my remaining time from my new work. In February 2021, I was 29 years old and thought it was the right time for me to participate in an ESC project. I would have to quit my job for this, so it was a serious decision for me. Perhaps it was a decision that many young people would not dare. Because I had a guaranteed job and a decent regular income. However, the job I did (general accounting, purchasing, insurance, sales, marketing, lending) was not suitable for the volunteer work that I started after university. The idea of going to an ESC project and then developing myself in the youth field seemed more important to me. At first, I just shared this decision with the general coordinator of PIYA, Demirkan. When he couraged me to go on further, I started to apply for various ESC projects. For applying to the ESC projects, you need to prepare two files. These are a CV in Europass format and a motivation letter regarding the project. Since I love working with young people and have always worked in youth organizations, I only applied to the institutions that work in this field. The most important advice that I can give to the people who want to do ESC is that please just apply to the projects which are suitable for you. Because your only goal is can be going to abroad, you can be unhappy with your ESC project later on if the job descriptions of the project are not suitable for you considering you have to work 30 – 35 hours a week, which is a massive time frame. Since you have just one right to do a long-term ESC, you should apply to the projects where you can improve yourself the most and enjoy your work.

My first application was to a youth center in northern Italy in March 2021. After my first application, they invited me for an interview. My interview lasted about 40 minutes. Although it went very well, unfortunately, I got a negative answer even though I thought I would be selected. Then I continued my applications. In July, a youth center in Austria interviewed me. This interview went well, but the answer was still negative. I applied to about 40 youth centers across Europe from March to September. Many of my e-mails have not been answered, or I have received e-mails stating that they have selected the appropriate candidate. Months passed, but I still could not get an acceptance from an institution and that was the time when I started to lose hope. Because the contract of the house I rented was going to end in November and I did not want to make a new contract. Another problem was my current job at that time. To resign from my job, I had to notify my employer two months before. Most importantly, I would not be able to use my ESC right since I will turn 31 in July 2022. When I thought all about these, I started to lose my motivation. At the end of September, I saw an announcement of the projects of my Pi Youth Association to be realized in Estonia. There were announcements of 13 different institutions in the info pack, and only 3 of them were youth centers. As usual, I sent my CV and motivation letter through my association. I had an online interview with one of these three youth centers about two weeks later that lasted about 30 minutes, with two officials, and it went very well. I started to wait for outcomes, thinking that is the time. And unfortunately, a week later I got an e-mail with a negative answer. It was so stressful for me to interview three different organizations from three other countries and get negative feedback from all of them, but I continued my applications without giving up. Meanwhile, there was an exciting development. The Estonian youth center that rejected me contacted my coordinator institution in Tallin and said that I could be a suitable candidate for them. A few days later, I got an e-mail from Tairi, the ESC coordinator at Noored Ühiskonna Heaks. She said they are looking for volunteers to work at their offices in the Mail. As a volunteer profile, they are looking for a candidate who will help them in their projects and, at the same time, work on the dissemination of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. At the end of the e-mail, he said that Marco, the association president, would contact me. 4 days after this e-mail, I received an e-mail from Marco to make an interview with me. I had a lasting 1-hour interview with Marco and Tairi. After another good meeting, I kept my expectations low and prepared myself for any negative outcomes in order not to be disappointed. Later on, I attended a network meeting with my friend Mert, representing the Pi Youth Association, on 17 – 24 October 2021. During this meeting, on 19 October, I received an e-mail from Tairi that says they accepted me. It was one of the happiest moments in my life, receiving such joyous news after applying 40 applications, four interviews, and six months period 😊

After this admission process, everything went very fast. On 28 October, exactly two months before I joined the project, I gave my resignation to my workplace. An agreement was signed between Pi Youth Association, Noored Ühiskonna Heaks, and me. My Estonian institution applied to the immigration authority on my behalf and then I made my visa application at the Estonian embassy in Ankara on the 26th of November, with the documents coming from there. After the visa application, I returned to Izmir and spent the last month with my family and friends.

As Pi Youth Association, we follow the volunteers we support with the codes “ESC-Country Name-Volunteer Name and Surname”. That’s why I named this section “ESC-234 Estonia Muhsin Şen”.

Chapter 2: ESC-234 Estonia Muhsin ŞEN

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