Half a year in sunny and hot Izmir
Hello everyone. I cordially invite you to read my report from my 6-month stay in Izmir/Turkey.
Few words about me…
Hoşgeldiniz! My name is Miłosz, I am 23 years old and from the beginning of March to the end of August I was a long-term volunteer of the European Solidarity Corps (ESC) in Izmir/Turkey. In mid-2022, I defended my bachelor’s degree in European studies and, wanting to help others locally, discover the world and myself more, I decided to take a year off from studying. I already knew that it was a very good decision, thanks to which I was able to go as an ESC volunteer for half a year and implement the above-mentioned plans.
About the project
My project was called “European Solidarity Heroes” and my host organization was Pi Youth Association (PIYA). My main responsibilities at PIYA included organizing workshops for local youth. It was with them that I mainly had the pleasure of conducting workshops, but sometimes I also had classes with children or adults, which was also a very valuable experience. Most often, I organized workshops on learning English in the form of English Conversation Club, which was not a typical lesson, but rather a meeting where, together with the participants, in a relaxed atmosphere, we talked about the reality surrounding us and the problems our world is facing, which was also a great lesson for me. .
English was not the only topic of my workshops. Together with other project participants, who come from France, Germany, and Poland, we also organized ceramics classes, went hiking in the surrounding nature reserves and prepared classes where we promoted the idea of ESC and Erasmus+ and encouraged others to take part in this great adventure
Not only workshops... 🙂
Long-term volunteering in Izmir was a great opportunity to visit Izmir itself, where almost 4.5 million people live. Izmir lies on the Aegean Sea and is surrounded by beautiful mountains, whose valleys hide ancient cities and mysterious temples. Thanks to Izmir’s location, we could take advantage of the Mediterranean climate and spend time in the
surrounding seaside towns, which are known only to Turks, which made it very authentic. I also had the opportunity to go to Istanbul again, swim on the famous Turkish Riviera, and, together with other volunteers, take a fascinating trip to the east of Turkey to the land called the Fertile Crescent, where agriculture was born and these places are described in the Koran, the Bible and the Talmud. I will certainly never forget it, it was a great adventure.
What I will remember are also the opportunities to meet and make friends with Turks. They are very nice, polite, hospitable people with whom I spent many wonderful moments. The opportunity to observe how Turks spend their national and religious holidays and to participate in them was a priceless experience, which was proof of their hospitality and openness to others.
Why is it worth going to ESC?
The opportunities that ESC gives you are huge and bring mostly positive experiences. The opportunity to help others and contribute to the local community is a great lesson in humility, respect, but also appreciation of where you come from.
It is also an excellent opportunity to meet and make friends with people from other countries, cultures and religions. In addition to getting to know others, you also get to know yourself, which helps you look more broadly at your goals, dreams, habits and the reality surrounding you, which definitely helps in life and in the choices you will one day be faced with. This is what happened to me and I am very happy and grateful for the opportunities given to me.
Would I go to a European Solidarity Corps project again? Definitely YES!