Volunteering Stories: From Hatay to Baia Mare – by Özge

Hello, I’m Özge from Turkey and this is my project. I’m here for an 8-month project. My 4 months are almost over. In my project, I organize activities to increase intercultural interaction with local volunteers and I’m committed to marginalized communities. What motivates me most in this process is sharing the same house, time, experiences, and many things about different lives and cultures with people from different countries.

Spending time with disadvantaged children

As volunteers we go to two different local organizations every week in Baia Mare. There we carry out activities with children of all age groups. Generally, the children we do activities with are socially disadvantaged children. This part of my project is the one I think has the strongest impact on my life. It is a very new experience for me and I feel like I have stepped out of my comfort zone. This is very improving for my personality and perspective on life. For example, I realized that I was worrying too much about some things in my life when I was with children.

The fact that the children seemed so happy and positive despite the disadvantageous conditions they experienced made me come to terms with this reality. I also realized that sometimes just knowing something and experiencing it in real life are very different things.

It makes me feel very good to receive a huge loving response for even the slightest interest we show to the children in activities. We play children’s games or hold handcraft workshops together.

Cultural activities and new challenges

I also carried out a 10-day activity in Ocna, a city close to Baia Mare. Here, a total of approximately 25 people from Romania and France carried out various cultural activities in the same house. This was a very enjoyable time for me. I learned a lot about French and Romanian culture in these 10 days, as well as the subtleties and tips of cooking!

Now I have 4 months left. My primary goal from now on is to learn Romanian better and focus on my cultural activities. I believe that the ESC volunteering experience is improving my weaknesses and making me confident. That’s why I’m happy now!


The volunteer is hosted by Team for Youth Association in project number 2022-1-RO01-ESC51-VTJ-000062337 (also called “Year2”), on a 8 months European Solidarity Corps project in Baia Mare. The content of this article does not reflect the official opinion of the European Union. The responsibility for the information and views expressed in the article rests entirely with the author(s).