Hello, I’m Almira. I don’t know how to start. My cousin was constantly posting EVS projects to me so I could apply, but I neither had confidence nor courage. One day he threw me the project that will change my life “The House of the Dolls”. I was in the second grade of university and it started to come to me a lot to handle with classes or exams. I said I should apply, what will I lose and I was accepted. In a very short time, I arrived in Varna, Bulgaria for a year. Pi Gençlik took care of everything and helped me get through the visa process and everything in the easiest way until I left.
I remember very clearly my first day. When I got off the plane, they came to meet with the host institution and placed it in my house. I thought, I’m alone now, I was extremely scared. For the first time in my life, I had an experience abroad alone, but as this experience was living rather than traveling, my fear increased. Two days after my, I found myself among a large group of volunteers. Too many people had too many different cultures. Now I view most of them as my family. Perhaps our different culture has brought us closer together. Almost every day was a festival.
If I were to talk about my project, I was spending time with children in a village school very close to Varna. I love children very much, anyway. When I saw the subject of the project, I skipped it. I was attending children’s English lessons, giving dance lessons, playing games. My other volunteer friends would play guitar and sing, and I would dance. In this way, we prepared a lot of school shows with children. Apart from that, I was teaching English and Turkish lessons to adults in the office. When we entered the pandemic period, we prepared hearts with stitches to thank the doctors. To tell you the truth, we weren’t as active as other volunteers from the host institution. I have improved myself more in socializing. I am much more capable of communicating with people, which I could not before. I broke that timidity.
I want to talk a little bit about Varna. I can definitely say my home. I am incredibly miss right now. It is a coastal city, people are extremely comfortable, everyone is looking for their own pleasure, no one is fussy. There are many bars by the beach. There were concerts every now and then, we were gathering, we were sitting on the beach until morning. There is also the Sea Garden (it is said to be the biggest park in Bulgaria and it is also said to be the biggest park in the Balkans). We had a picnic there a few times, it is a very nice place for morning walks. I felt like I was in a forest with lots of trees with bird sounds.
I really wanted to travel, but because of the pandemic, I had the chance to go to a much lesser country than I wanted to go. I may use this right in other projects now 🙂 This project made it easier for me to believe in myself, increased my self-confidence, helped me establish very good friendships, and showed that I can overcome even if I am alone, no matter how difficult the circumstances. I had disagreements with my host organization, some of them were very serious, but no matter what, I say I’m glad I went and had such a great experience. Thank you very much to everyone who made me have this wonderful experience.
The Volunteer of AGH-157 Bulgaria Project “Almira Demirci”
Pi Gençlik Derneği (Pi Youth Association)