Nakon skoro šest mjeseci života i volontiranja u Petrinji, Neslisah i Orhan, volonteri Udruge IKS, vratili su se u Tursku. Dugoročnu EVS službu proveli su u sklopu projekta We are Combining Generation naših partnera Sisli ditrict governate iz Istanbula. Njihove završne osvrte na iskustvo EVS mobilnosti možete pročitati u daljnjem tekstu.
”I didn’t know much about Croatia before I came to Croatia. Coming to Croatia was really going to be a very different experience for me. It was both my first EVS project and my first trip abroad. Before I came here, I did my research on Petrinja, but after I came here, I found that my research was inadequate. When I first arrived at the airport I was in shock and embarked on an adventure I didn’t know the end of. I arrived at Petrinja at the end of a long wait and journey. Our housemate took us from the station to home, told us the house rules and told us all the information we needed to know. When I walked into my room and I was alone, I said to myself, ”Yes, Neslişah, your new adventure has begun. Are you ready?” I remember asking. Yes, I was ready, but of course, I had my doubts. Over time, I realized that my suspicions were unnecessary.
I met a lot people at the office on my first day of work. I wasn’t talking much, I was just listening. Talking to different people in different languages seemed strange to me at first. I was still having the shock of being in another country. But my friends who worked in the office seemed very understanding and aware of everything. They were very kind and smiling towards me. The positive energy I received from them strengthened my self-confidence.
In the first weeks, our mentor, Nadja, told us all the necessary information. She told us about our responsibilities and gave us the confidence that we could easily tell her when we had a problem. She has been on our side in transactions like opening a bank account, paperwork in the police office, at any time we needed, and has made it easier for us.
Our first workshop was to design games for blind people. We made XOX playable for them. When we met them and played this game, I saw the happiness on their faces and I thought I was where I should be. That’s what I expected from this project, to help people. But I never thought the smile and the happiness on their faces would affect me so much. Glad I came here.
As well as working, I had the chance to share the same house with volunteers from different countries. Their food cultures have taught me about their everyday habits. In conversations I had with my friends, I learned that it doesn’t matter what country we live in, some things are the same. I’ve had very good friendships.
I met local volunteers and had the opportunity to form new friendships. Local people love and watch Turkish TV shows. I never knew that before I came here. I was so surprised to find out. With these television series, the interest in Turkish was very big. The students who learned that we were Turkish people in the schools we went to for the workshop wanted to take pictures with us. I was so surprised when I first heard that, I felt like a celebrity. When we saw that there was so much interest in Turkish, we thought, why don’t we give Turkish lessons? After this situation, we started to teach Turkish to children in kindergarten and children aged 14-15. We had the opportunity to introduce the Turkish culture and the Turkish language.
Every week we went to the Elderly Home and played bowling with the elderly people who lived there. They were all very excited about bowling and said they loved spending time with us. We had a lot of fun bowling with them.
Thanks to EVS I’ve done something I’ve never done in my life this is to go to the hospital for mentally ill adul people to play bingo every week on Thursdays. I’ve never been to a mental institution before in my life. I was a little scared when this activity proposal came to me. Then I decided to go, saying why not. Before we went to institution, Nadja told us all the necessary information. When we went to the mental hospital to play Bingo, we signed confidentiality papers before we started the game. I was a little nervous and sad for them. My other volunteer friends helped me. Everyone came to the room where we were going to play Bingo. Everyone was happy and laughing. The more they played, the more people enjoyed bingo, the happier their eyes were. I realized that all my worries before I came here were unnecessary, that seeing happiness through the eyes of the people here made me happy.
While all these activities were going on, the Croatian language lesson that our mentor had organized for us w progressing. Although I had difficulty in the first lesson, after a certain time I got used to Croatian. After 1 month I learned Croatian to a level that I could use it in daily life, to order coffee or food, communicate with local people.
I had to attend two trainings because I came here on a long-term project. The first training was the on-arrival training that was done the first month I came here. The second was mid-term training, which was done after I completed half of my project. Through these two trainings, I met other volunteers who volunteered in different communities from different countries. I learned a lot of important information about EVS life from training.
During my EVS process, I had the opportunity to visit Croatia and other countries. I toured the capital, Zagreb. Since I was here on Christmas, I had the chance to see the great Advent in Zagreb. I had the opportunity to visit many cities, such as Split, Dubrovnik. Apart from Croatia, I had the opportunity to tour Belgrade in Serbia, Kotor and Budva in Montenegro, Sarajevo and Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Thanks to Evs, I’ve traveled 4 countries.
And I got a chance to volunteer as a model at the museum in Sisak. It was a very different experience for me. I volunteered at the museum on the Museum Night wearing clothes from a company called Siscia , welcoming all-night guests and attending the workshop with the children.
As the main project activity, we have created a survey aimed at preventing intergenerational conflicts. In this survey, we looked for answers to questions such as why the intergenerational conflict is occurring, what the problem stems from, and how we can solve it. We were careful to have people from different generations participate in the survey to give our survey the right results.
While conducting our survey, we organized a workshop in the hom for elderly and frail called ‘advice from the elderly to the young.’ In this workshop, we asked the elderly to give advice to the younger generation. Very nice and instructive advice came out. It was a workshop that met our expectations.
We recorded a video of a day as a volunteer in Petrinja, just before our EVS project was finished. The video, which we started with the morning coffee, contained activities we were doing. We stood up in the morning, got ready, and went to Home for eldery and frail people. After we all played bowling there, we tried to chat with the elders using our Croatian skills. We asked them about bowling. We then came to the office and continued our ”work” day.
As you read, I have participated in many different activities through my Evs project. The workshops we’ve done have enabled me to develop myself in many ways. Most importantly, I developed my English skill.
I thank my family for supporting me during the EVS project. Then I would like to thank the sending organization with Jale Ulutaş, UDRUGA IKS, the host organization, and the local and other volunteers I know. Everything was beautiful. Glad we met! ”
Before I came to Petrinja for EVS, I did a little search on the internet about the town and Croatia. Also, I read about the recent war with Serbia. I didn’t know what was waiting for me, and I was excited. My travel date came and, I came to Petrinja on the 5th October. To tell you the truth, I was a little confused at first. I was going to spend 6 months in a small town. I left a big city and began to live in a small town. I am not going to lie, it was hard to get used to a new language, new culture, new people, new thoughts.
One week after arriving here, I went to Orahovica for the On-arrival training. It was a good opportunity to meet other volunteers in this training, to take advantage of the experiences of the volunteers who came before us. This way I could have organized the next 6 months in a more good and efficient way.
After coming from training, we started preparations to teach Turkish and met the Kızılkaya family who lived in Petrinja at the time. They settled in Petrinja from Turkey and set up business here and live here. With their help, I adapted to life here more quickly and it felt good to have another Turkish friend here. I thank them from here too.
I slowly adapted to life here and started to find somethings of myself in Petrinja. I was going on walks, going to concerts, going out to hang out with other volunteers and employees. Life was becoming more and more enjoyable and at the same time, we were slowly participating in workshops and making preparations for these.
When we completed the preparations for the Turkish lesson and went to the first lesson, I was really happy that people wanted to learn Turkish in Croatia, even though it was difficult to communicate with the children. Our first lesson was for young children only. However, when we saw some young people who wanted to participate in the class, we decided to do classes in the form of 2 groups. We were preparing lessons on dialogue and grammar for young people while preparing more game-oriented lessons for children.
After busy days, we went on Christmas break. It was a beautiful experience and I was watching the feast of a different religion with curious eyes. Different foods were cooked, different traditional products and drinks. I couldn’t wait to see them all. I attended concerts in Petrinja. I went for Advent in Sisak. He also went to Zagreb to see Advent. Especially the Advent in Zagreb is very big and I would recommend everyone to visit Zagreb at Christmas time.
We then began survey preparations to observe the conflict between generations. There are 28 questions in our poll. In these questions, we asked people about their lifestyle, thoughts, behavior, and habits. We reached a total of 121 people in our survey and now we have started to analyze this survey. Now we will try to observe what differences there are between generations in Petrinja.
After celebrating the new year with our friends in Petrinja, we went to Belgrade for a few days and toured there. Also, after medium-term training, I went to Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina and went there. One of the advantages of volunteering is that you can get together with a few volunteers and have the opportunity to visit and see many places, and I believe I have experienced it most beautifully.
Now, ı’m in my last month of the volunteering period. I’ve had very good experiences and very good moments. Of course, I lived through bad times, but the important thing was that I was able to cope with the difficulties in these moments. So my confidence grew. I had a chance to improve my English. I also learned Croatian enough to communicate with people in daily life. I developed myself in teamwork and in managing teamwork. My networking has increased and I now have friends and connections outside of Turkey. Now I’ve started to make my career plan and now I’ve got a new perspective and I’m going to turn to things that will make me happy and satisfied in life.
The second thing that changed me the most after having Type-1 diabetes in my life was my volunteering project. I recommend that everyone take part in volunteer projects and improve themselves before starting their business life. I’m on this project because my goal was to discover a new culture, to learn a new language, to meet new people, to hear new stories, to try new tastes and to see new places. Maybe Petrinja is a small town for all this, but it is the right place to meet good friends and good people.
Stajališta izražena u ovom članku isključiva su odgovornost Udruge IKS.