My name is Anissa, I am twenty eight years old, I live in Paris and I have been a volunteer for the Pi Youth Association for two months in Izmir, Turkey.
My pre-departure expectations
I worked for three years in a French public institution in Paris. My role was to examine funding applications and assist associations in project engineering and financial analysis. A little bored and wanting to experience new things, I decided to quit my job. It wasn’t an easy decision, but I really needed to get away from my daily routine and experience something new. It was thanks to my french friend Laurine, another Pi volunteer for a year, that I discovered the Pi Youth Association and my future volunteer project. After she explained to me the association’s youth project and described to me the beauty of the city, I was really motivated to apply to the association for a short-term project. My goals with this experience were to improve my English, gain experience in animation and develop my knowledge about youth issues.
My Overall Experience
I lived in the Karsiyaka district for two months. It’s a great neighborhood, very lively, well located in Izmir and very pleasant to live in. All in all, Izmir is a very entertaining city, with many different neighborhoods that are fun to visit. I was with four other girls in the apartment, and it was a new experience for me to share a flat with so many people, but it went extremely well. In fact, I built up a very strong bond with them and we shared some fascinating discussions about our cultural differences and had a lot of fun together. My mission was to organize and run workshops in English and French. I enjoyed these tasks very much as they allowed me to meet and create links with Turkish people in a friendly atmosphere. Moreover, it was a real challenge to develop my imagination and creativity to enable participants to progress in English and French with fun and efficiency. The workshops also provide an opportunity to wander around Izmir, discovering new places with social and quality projects throughout the city.
In a nutshell, this experience within the Pi Youth Association allowed me to feel useful and to refocus myself on values that were important to me. Thanks to the association and its members, I have also experienced memorable moments of joy and sharing. An experience abroad may not always be linear, but it allows you to grow and discover yourself through many different situations. I’m convinced that getting out of your comfort zone by going abroad is always a good idea, and Izmir is a superb city to do that. Indeed, Turkey is a very interesting country to discover, with very warm and generous people.