Chapter 3- Tallinn, A Winter’s Tale

It was time to go to my ESC project, which I had been waiting for years and had been applying for intensively for the last six months. On the morning of 3rd January, I went to Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport with my sister and brother. Before I went to Tallinn, I had an antigen test for the first time. After getting my negative result, I got on the plane to Istanbul. After using the plane from İstanbul to Warsaw and then from Warsaw to Tallinn, I arrived in Tallinn at 02:00 on the night of 4th January. My total trip was about 16 hours, with waits at the airports. I felt my first cold shock after I got out of the airport. There was a temperature difference of about 30 degrees between Izmir and Tallinn that day. I immediately called a taxi to the airport and went to my dorm. My Greek friend Artemis, an ESC volunteer like me, opened the door and showed me my room. My hosting organization, Noored Ühiskonna Heaks “Youth for Society,” was established in Tallinn in 2011. It is one of the most active associations working in Estonia’s youth field, especially on Erasmus+ and ESC projects.

Tallinn

It was very nice of them to leave breakfast and food supplies, kitchen utensils, and finally, my bus card in my room. If I need to talk about the dormitory where I live briefly, I stay alone in a room with two single beds. Each floor has a shared bathroom, toilet, and kitchen. There is also free laundry and Wifi. The dormitory is 10 minutes away from the city center by bus.

After sleeping until noon on the first day after my long journey, in the afternoon, I met with my mentor Selman and Ezgi, whose sending organization is Pi Youth Association, in the city center. Selman has a master’s degree from Tallinn University and is currently working as a home office customer representative in a bank. Since he has lived in Tallin for about 3.5 years, he knows the city and Estonia well. My first impression of the town is that it is small but very organized. Public transport vehicles are incredibly punctual, even with heavy snowfall. Since the city center is in the UNESCO cultural heritage, it is well preserved, and its restorations are successful. One of the first things I did was to buy the Estonian sim card with the help of Selman; then, we had an excursion to the center of Tallinn. In the following days, we visited many places in Tallinn with Artemis (Greek), Tanya (French), Marianka (Dutch), and Marina (Spanish), who stayed in the same dorm with me and carried out ESC projects in kindergartens.

Trip to Helsinki

The next day was my first day in the office, and I met our organization’s president, Marco, and ESC coordinator Tairi. We had a meeting, and Marco showed me around the office. Our association office is located in Telliskivi, in the city center, in a co-working space with other associations. I hung the amulet brought from Turkey on the wall of our office, and I also put the Izmir clock tower on my desk. After the meeting I had with Marco and Tairi, we gave pre-departure training to Young people who will attend the youth Exchange, training course and a volunteer who will go to Slovenia through ESC. I gave similar training at Pi Youth Association in Türkiye, but it was an excellent experience to attend the same training here. I had the opportunity to get to know my association a little better.

Dinner with our ESC volunteers at Olde Hansa Restaurant

After participating in ESC projects, there are two pieces of training you need to take in your hosting country, which the National Agency of your country gives. My training was held in Tallinn, about two weeks after I arrived in Estonia. We went to Olde Hansa with Müşerref, who came to Tallinn before the training, where the Pi Youth Association is the sending organization and carried out the project in Tartu. Olde Hansa is a restaurant with a medieval concept. It has become one of my favorite places in Tallinn. Whenever my friend from outside Tallinn comes, it is one of the places we always stop by. It was very beneficial for me to meet volunteers from different countries and listen to their experiences during the training. I took pictures with our other volunteers whose projects were coordinated by my Hosting organization. Later, I shared these photos on NÜH’s social media accounts.  

Dinner with our ESC Coordinators Tairi & Liis at Türgi BBQ

One of the things I did in the first week was to go to the Turkish Embassy and have my residence transferred to Estonia. Marco created the association mail account for me. From now on, I will make correspondence on behalf of the association through this e-mail address. If I need to talk about the job descriptions in the project, I prepared the project calls that NÜH partner in a Word file and sent them to Marco, who uploaded them to our Website. Then, after teaching me how to use a Website based on WordPress, I started to upload project calls by myself. Participants we send abroad to youth exchanges or training courses fill out an online form. We upload the answers to the Website as interviews, so we disseminate their projects. After contacting the volunteers who came to the projects coordinated by NÜH and got the necessary information, I uploaded them to the ‘‘Volunteers in Estonia’’ section of the Website.

I prepared a booklet for the “Power of Storytelling” training course implemented last year. I designed a newsletter containing the projects for which we were looking for participants via Mailchimp and sent it as a mass e-mail. I have updated the PIF file that includes the organization information we used to establish a partnership for the Erasmus + February application deadline. I attended the online APV meeting of a KA2 project in which my organization is a partner. I participated in the “Greenday” KA2 project, which we hosted in Viljandi, a city in the south of Estonia. For the first time, I had the opportunity to observe Marco during his training.

I organized my first trip outside of Estonia to Helsinki. This trip with Ezgi and her volunteer friend Anastasia was exceptional because it was the first time I had gone to another country by cruise ship.

You can learn more about my responsibilities from the link I prepared below.

See you in the next chapter! 😊

Chapter 3- Tallinn, A Winter’s Tale

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