- 16 September 2014
- Posted by: Team For Youth Association
- Category: Volunteering Stories
Salih and Yildiz challenged themselves when they decided to try the short term EVS in Team for Youth Association. Mostly because of the language and the cultural barrier that they thought they will have to face. As it turned out, none of these had any negative impact on their experience and now they want to share with you what they have learned, what they have changed about themselves and what are their plans after they will return to their home country – Turkey.
I did a short term EVS in Baia Mare, in Romania. These two months were the best time of my life. I believe EVS should be our lifestyle for ever. I was working with children, but in the beginning I was afraid – I didn’t know their language or culture. Only after we started playing games I realized that none of these is important. Games are the language all the children speak. I enjoyed spending time with them and I felt amazing when they prepared gifts for me.
I met a lot of people from different cultures in Team for Youth Association. So I had to learn how to be tolerant towards everybody else’s cultural sensitivity. I know I have a family here, I found a lot of good friends in Romania. While I was traveling, for my birthday, my friends back in Team for Youth didn’t forget about me – they sent me greetings from the garden. I was very happy to realize that having the same blood is not a rule for being a family. I am so lucky to have such lovely friends.
The purpose of my EVS experience was to get to know new places and to meet new people. It’s the first experience of this kind for me. It was the first time I was traveling abroad by plane. I’ve had a lot of “first time experiences”. I got on a plane for the first time and it was a bad experience for me.
My first days in Romania have been a little bit tricky, but everyone in the office was very helpful. The other Turkish volunteers in Team for Youth proved to be very useful. However, sometimes I wish I didn’t have any Turkish volunteers around me, as I wanted to force myself to speak English. In the activities we organised in the library in Firiza, a nearby village, I had so much fun. Children were very smart. they were all interested in the activities and sometimes they were improving them. However, in the Romanii Center, I found it very challenging to find suitable activities, because the children were hyperactive and sometimes don’t want to take part in the activities. But I always found something to do there.
The part of the project that made me sad was going to spend time with the institutionalized children. I tried my best to organize activities that can make them happy. We played a lot of games and we tried origami. Everywhere I had the chance, I tried to teach them something. I hope I’ve done it. I loved Baia Mare. I loved my new friends. I think I’ll miss them all when I’ll be back in Turkey. As an engineer, I am thinking to take part in voluntary activities in Turkey.
Thank you very much for everything. I hope I’ll see you again one day, Team for Youth.
Salih Ermis and Yildiz Gumustekin participated as volunteers in the European Voluntary Service project called “LEMON”, for a period of 1.5 months (Salih) and 2 months (Yildiz), within the Youth in Action Programme of the European Commission.
They now have a Youth Pass certificate to remind them about this experience and all the skills and competences they have discovered or developed during the service.