Being a volunteer is an interesting, adventurous and intensive process. It requires being motivated and optimistic, having interest in what you are doing and putting some efforts to bring the result closer.
Being a volunteer within European Solidarity Corps means you’ll be guided through the whole path of your volunteering adventure. Did you know that every volunteer gets to attend a pre-departure meeting before they come to a new country of residence? Or that during the period of their project volunteers take part in on-arrival and mid-term training and final evaluation?
By the way, we have just returned back to Bodrum from our on-arrival training and we are ready to share all our feelings and impressions with you!
This season’s first on-arrival training for EVS volunteers was held in Ankara, the capital of Turkey. Btw, a lot of people think that the capital is Istanbul, the biggest city of the country with busy lifestyle and rich historical heritage, but that would be a mistake to believe so. Centuries back Istanbul had a chance to be a capital for three powerful empires: Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman, but Ankara became a capital of a modern state – Republic of Turkey. There’s a quite interesting story behind: after the World War I certain parts of the former Ottoman Empire were divided between some European states (including Italy and France), and so was Istanbul. The first president of the Republic Mustafa Kemal Atatürk had to move the capital to Ankara that was a significant center of national liberation movement at that time.
Well, last week Ankara hosted 27 volunteers from all over the world doing their EVS projects in different cities of Turkey. Young people came to Turkey in the beginning of this autumn from such countries as Italy, Slovakia, Spain, Russia, Germany, Slovenia, Portugal, Croatia, Lithuania, Azerbaijan, Romania, Tunisia, Ukraine and Hungary. Together we spent 5 amazing days learning new things, extending our knowledge and having fun. We already miss it!
On-arrival training usually includes following topics to be covered:
- Intercultural learning
- Team work
- What is volunteering?
- Technical aspects of the project (money, transportation, accommodation, etc..)
- Volunteer’s weekly program
- Future plans and opportunities
We have to admit that it sounds like a boring plan for long-lasting lecture, but EVS and Erasmus+ program use non-formal methods of education that simply cannot be boring! All the aspects were covered in a way of games, discussions and funny exercises. We truly enjoyed it!
What is more, the training took place in a fancy hotel with super delicious meals (we definitely filled up on food) on the bank of a fascinating lake, so we also managed to make breathtaking pictures 😉
In the middle of the training our international group had a day out in Ankara with excursions and everything. Before going out we were divided into 6 groups and given very interesting tasks: to take pictures of street food, to capture movements of Turkish people, to observe street fashion and make interview with Turkish youngsters. This was a part of intercultural learning: instead of getting a humdrum lecture on Turkish culture we had a chance to explore it ourselves.
Ankara was gray, cold and rainy, but we managed to find a silver lining. We visited many places, and the most exciting was the Old town of Ankara Ulus. It consists of a number of narrow paved streets leading to local food places and small shops with craft little things. Amaaaazing!
In those 5 days we met great people and made great friendships. Volunteers live throughout Turkey, and we are sure that we’ll pay a visit or host someone very soon. ♥️
P.S. Of course, apart of learning we had some crazy wild parties together, but it’s a whole other story 😉