Our volunteering at Svitac (Firefly) – Yunus and Taha, Turkey
We met each other at the airport in December and started our new adventure in Brčko, where we have spent the last six months. We were scared to come to Brčko because it is a very small place and we thought we may be bored. However we found everything in Brčko: new friends and a new and different environment. We played Billiards, table tennis, table football and did different activities during the weekends; we also went to parties with friends. Everything was perfect. It was good to do something together and to meet and talk with new people from different countries around world. We have made many unforgettable memories. The winter, however, was a little cold, and therefore we have had a few illnesses. Working with children was very fun for us, even though we did not know their language; it was funny to try and communicate with each other.
It was our intention to learn about foreign cultures and to introduce our own culture at the same time, and it was indeed beneficial. We did also have a happy advantage in that people in this country have a similar culture and common words to ours, so it was a little bit easier to fit in. At the same time we gained the opportunity to improve our English, which has been great. We made connections that feel like a family here. The experience has been great. The strong connections we have made here can be shown through the way in which we were welcomed as newcomers and the farewell parties that we have witnessed for those who have left during our time here. It was all so warm and welcoming it proves to us that we were like a family.
This short-lived experience will remain an unforgettable moment. The experiences we have gained here will benefit us in our future lives. If you want to ask us what we will never forget? We can say “EKMEK”. It means bread in Turkish and became our group’s catchphrase that we always shouted out during group photos when we all had big smiles on our faces. This for us symbolizes the acceptance and friendships we have made during our time here.
We do not know whether the children will remember us in the future, but we will not forget them. Teaching Turkish has taught us how tired our teachers must be. But it has been a rewarding experience because at the end of these six months, chatting with our pupils in Turkish shows that we have been successful in our teachings.
Yunus Seçkin and Taha Biçer, Turkey
Svitac (Firefly) EVS Volunteers, December 2016-June 2017