Hey hi there! 🙂
I’m Leyre and I’m doing my long-term ESC at Pi Youth Association in Izmir.
I am in the tird months of my ESC and so far I have spend a night in a turkish hospital, went hiking
on the hardest hike, was in quarantine, was in Istanbul, went to a turkish wedding, went to a five
stars hotel and showered two months with cold water.
The first time I saw Izmir was from the Izban at night (and I really thought it was beautiful). Before
I had walked out of the airport into a warm September evening (although where I come from there
are no warm September evenings…).
I remember then first day in Izmir really good. Me and, at that point my only, roommate went to the
backery next door for breakfast because there wasnt a single thing to eat at our flat (nor water when
we arrived…) and with a little bit of sign language we got ourselves some round breads filled with
chocolate. We met our coordinator and the other volunteers in front of the Karşıyaka Izban station
and then went to the ferry station, where we took the ferry to Pasaport which is where our office is
After seeing the office we went to eat something together and after we went to Kültürpark.
Kültürpark is a big parc in the center of Izmir and at that time there was a international fair about youth where our organisation had a stand. In Kültürpark there is also Lunapark, where we rode the big fairywheel from which we had an amazing view over Izmir. Or at least we would have had because they spinned us around so much thIn the next days we stayed a lot of times in Kültürpark and we met a lot of people from the
organisation and I even met some people from my hometown, Bremen, which is the partnercity of Izmir, who were also there for the fair.at we couldnt see anything. But at least I didnt have any fear of the height because of the spinning.In the first two weeks or so we also did a lot of city tours, we saw the clocktower, basar, asonsörand ate cold baklava in Konak. The days we spend at the office we did some paperwork for our residence permits, bank accounts and similar stuff.
In the weeks after we went to see many centers where we would be doing workshops and we had a movie night, although I should give trigger warning about the movie because it was really sad, so watch the trailer before 🙂
Sometimes we get invited to events from other organisations or similiar institutions.
After the isolation we directly went on the on-arrival training to Afyonkarahisar. The Hotel where
we were was really nice and the training was very interesting and well-planned. We ate a lot of food
, went to the spa but most importantly met a lot of other volunteers who were volunteering in other
projects in turkey. Unfortunatly we only stayed at the hotel for four days.
After the first week of October we finally started to do workshops. In the first month we were only allowed to do conversation clubs. I did two english conversation clubs and one german conversation club. Sometimes there were problems, for example we only had one participant in a conversation club or there were three people but their levels were really different. I really didnt know how to do a conversation club and for each group you have to prepare different things and be aware of all things that could change your plans but eventually I learnd how to prepare conversation clubs althuogh I sometimes still struggle with it. I have one conversation club on saturday mornings that I really like
because of the people and all the interesting things we can talk about because they have a really good english level.
The sad thing about the last two months is that we had to say goodbye to three short-term volunteers and one of them was even my roommate, thats really the hard part about short-terms. But I am happy to be a long-term volunteer.One of the things I like ost about Izmir is riding the ferry to work (or anywhere really) and living and doing things with my fellow volunteers. Also I love meeting local volunteers and (young) turkish people and spending time with them. Luckily with our job its really easy to meet locals and spend time with them. Spending time with our mentros is also good, they are really nice (although I am mentorless right now).
Not knowing any turkish is really challenging but I love to learn it, although it was really hard in the first two months because we did not have any clases.This is where my post for the first two months ends. I hope I could give a little impression about what happened and how volunteering here is. A lot of love to my fellow volunteers and all the great people I have met here until now 🙂
See you in two months