I am Talha Ziya Şahin. Between June and July, I took an active part in the volunteering project for about 2 months in Latinovac village of Caglin municipality, Croatia. The main sources that formed my expectations before coming here were the project’s info kit, the short information form on the European Union website when applying for the project, the information I gained during the interview during the selection process for the project, and the answers to the questions I asked during the interview. Since I also knew that the project would proceed on the basis of permaculture in general, my expectations were in line with the realities. My expectations were to learn more about permaculture and gain more experience in gardening. In addition, it was to take part in the organization of various organizations, both by helping the local population and local groups.
When I first came to Latinovac, my first impression was that I might have trouble adapting, due to the fact that I joined a few days late from the start of the project. The sincere and helpful stance of both the project officials and my other volunteer friends in this challenge helped me to adapt in a short time and I did not have any adaptation problems. Afterward, the first things that caught my attention were the quiet village and our tree-lined volunteer center. Even though the fact that the food is vegetarian is a new situation in the first stage, I realized that I would not have any adaptation problems when I understood the difference in terms of both the wonderful meals prepared by our chefs and the vegetarian diet in terms of digestion.
During the project, I had the chance to prepare and organize events many times. On my behalf, among the contributions of these processes, I think that using English in the implementation of the activities and the exchange of ideas we made in English during the preparation of the activities with volunteers from different cultures significantly improved my English. I also think that I have improved my ability to speak to communities during events. The best moments in this project for me were helping young people with various disabilities in the city of Pozega and the cultural differences-based conversations I had with other volunteers involved in the project. I think that this project’s collaborations with other local organizations and our participation in these collaborations have improved me positively.
To sum up, I am very happy to have participated in this project. I can summarize the areas in which I have improved myself: presentations and speeches using a foreign language, new information I have gained in the field of permaculture, and new ideas and new questions that arise in my mind in the light of this information, a chance to get to know Croatian culture more closely.