Since I’ve stepped on the Turkish soil for the first time back in October, I’ve had one clear goal in mind- to make the most out of my ESC experience. For me, that includes learning everything there is to learn about different aspects of working in the field of NGOs, getting to know all the mechanisms behind the Erasmus+ programme as well as discovering a new country, new culture and -of course- a new language.
Before coming to Turkey I had no experience with Turkish language- apart from catching a few basic phrases from the movies I watched to prepare myself for the life here. On my second day in Izmir I reinstalled my Duolingo app (which I had a fallout with since my rather disastrous attempt to learn Italian) and got to studying.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that being immersed in a new language helps a great deal the process of learning it, however it can be quite overwhelming, especially in the beginning. Luckily, Pi Association provided us with a course at Dokuz Eylül University which we attended for 3 months. Not only our teacher managed to explain us the complex grammatical rules of Turkish in a straightforward manner, but also familiarized us with useful vocabulary and phrases that helped make our everyday life in Izmir a bit easier. We wrote our final test in the beginning of January and from that time we are the proud owners of A1 Turkish Language Certificate.
But our learning process didn’t stop there. Starting from December, we also attend Turkish Conversation Club which is being held every Saturday in Pi Association’s office in Konak. It is run by three Turkish volunteers who do their best to make their language a bit more accessible to a bunch of clueless foreigners. Not to mention they have a lot of patience when it comes to answering our weird questions:-)
To be completely honest, learning Turkish is harder than I originally anticipated, because it is unlike any other language group I’ve ever studied. But we still have 9 months in our ESC journey and that is quite a lot of time to polish our Turkish! (Pun intended)