Hos geldin, my name is Melika.

I am 19 years old and I am from Hamburg, Germany. I have been staying in Izmir as a volunteer with Pi Genclik for over 2 months now, and let me tell you what happened. It all started with me finishing a major chapter in my life—school. I graduated from school this summer, and then came the big question everybody talks about after school ends… what will I do next?

I wanted to go abroad and experience something entirely new, something I hadn’t done in Germany before, so I decided to do voluntary work. I’ve always wanted to volunteer, and what better way than doing it abroad? So, I searched and found this project that seemed like a lot of fun, and then I discovered it was in Turkey—a country with an intriguing culture, different from Germany’s. I made the effort and got in! What an amazing moment it was when I found out that I would spend a whole year in Izmir. I was so excited.

So, I packed my stuff and came over here. The moment I realized that I would stay in Turkey for a year was in the plane on my way here. When I arrived, my mentor  picked me up, and I met the other volunteers. It was very nice and funny to meet the other volunteers; I had just met these people, and I knew I would spend a whole year with them. The first impression was already amazing. 

Then, my first week went by, and I had already met so many new people. We explored Izmir, saw many new things, and learned a lot about the history of Turkey and Izmir. Of course, we tried a lot of Turkish cuisine, which is, by the way, so good. We started visiting the places where we would have our workshops, and I was even more excited to start the workshops. Unfortunately, some of the volunteers caught Covid, so we had to quarantine. It was a very interesting experience. I got to know the people from my apartment in a different way; we became very close and spent a lot of time getting to know each other.

In October, we went to the arrival training in Afyonkarahisar. There, we met more ESC volunteers from all over Turkey. It was very interesting and nice to have a big exchange of different experiences here in Turkey. After the arrival training, we started with the workshops. I have been conducting German and English conversation clubs, and it has been going really well. I have met a lot of new people and learned new skills. Working with different age groups has been an amazing experience. I also have a workshop in Foca, which is a really cute village by the sea. It has been a nice experience to meet people from smaller areas than the big city of Izmir.

On my weekends, I try to travel. It doesn’t even have to be far. I have been exploring around Izmir. We went hiking in Balcova or would go out in Alsancak. I also visited Istanbul. Istanbul is a must-visit in Turkey. I had the best time exploring Istanbul and learning more about Turkish history and culture. Also, Cesme was a place I visited. It is really cute and reminded me of an amazing beach vacation.

All in all, these 3 months have been so much more different than in Germany. I have met so many new people, made new friends, and created a family in Izmir. I cannot wait for the other months, which will be as crazy or even crazier than the last 3 months. This experience always reminds me never to give up and to always fight for your dreams. So make mistakes, learn new things, gain new experiences, and make dreams come true… Büyük hayaller kur 😊

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