After the end of my university, I gave myself a year to travel, explore, and realize my dreams before graduate studies. The most logical way to evaluate this time and reach my dreams was to join the ESC program. For this, I say without exaggeration, I have made more than 80 applications. I was only able to get back from 3 of them. I did not join one because of my graduation, and the other was rejected during the interview because it was the country I visited before. The only option left was the project in Romania. When the subject of the project attracted my attention, I accepted the project and immediately completed the visa and necessary procedures with the help of Pi Youth Association and found myself in Romania. I did not really know much about Romania before I left. Somehow I did not investigate that I would go and learn, but after 5 months, it was a country where I gathered many memories.

If I should mention my project, it was a project named “Think about the Others”, consisting of 2 teams which lasted 5 months in Craiova, Romania. The first team was going to schools, explaining our project, our purpose and collecting donations. Then, they allocated the donations according to their categories, put them in boxes and delivered them to the students and children in need. The other team, as well as my team, was promoting these activities on social media and organizing campaigns and events to reach more donors. We were taking photos of all project activities, short video montage, and preparing brochures to promote our project. We were briefly marketing. During the project, we attended the “On Arrival Training” in the capital city of Bucharest and the ‘Social Media Marketing’ training provided by the project.

We were more than 20 volunteers from 6 different countries in the project. In addition, we were almost more than 100 volunteers, along with volunteers from two other projects of our association and other projects in our city. We had dinner together, played games, got to know each other, introduced our culture, and organized entertainment in the evenings outside of the project. In short, we laughed, we cried, we had fun together. We were saying to ourselves ‘La Familia’. I can say that they all have more than my teammate.

We had a Romanian language course once a week provided by our association. I can say that I learned Romanian enough to speak at a simple level. We also had a Spanish club, which Spanish volunteers from other associations in our city were trained. So, I had the opportunity to improve my English, the common communication language of all volunteers and both Spanish and Romanian. The materials we prepared to introduce the project to the people of Craiova were in Romanian language.

Romania has become a country where I love its nature, its history-smelling cities, and helpful people. On weekends, national holidays, and Christmas holidays, I had the chance to visit both the cities of Romania and many cities in 12 countries. Now when I look back, I have gathered incredible days of excursions, people I met on the road and excellent memories that are hard to experience again.

My advice to those who read this blog post is to find the most suitable project for you and apply at the most convenient time for you. These opportunities appear once in our lives. I emphasize the second time you to choose your project well because you are going there with an expectation and you are expected. Other applicants cannot be selected because you have been selected. You are there as an individual. At the same time, you represent your sending organization and, most importantly, your country as a Turk, I recommend that you not forget this to your friends.

AGH-172 Romania Project Volunteer “Hanife Şahin”

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