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Hi! My name is İlayda and I am a volunteer who is 30 years old. Well… Technically 31, but who is counting, except European Solidarity Corps? ☺ I want to share my journey of being a volunteer in an ESC Project by starting this very first blog writing. It might help you to take “that” step and try something new.

Let me introduce myself first, I was a volunteer mentor at Pi Youth Association in my hometown İzmir and my basic task was helping the volunteers who came from different countries to Turkey for their projects. I was helping them with basic stuff, paper works, adjusting to the city and culture, and we were sharing our experiences with regular meetings. It provides many opportunities for working internationally and having lots of good friends from all over the world. I did exactly this and after being a mentor for a year, I realized that I want to apply for ESC and started my research. I have checked the topics of the projects and their dates. The dates were pretty important for me since I was already 30 years old. And let me inform you about the age limits of ESC projects. If you are 18-30 years old, you still have a chance for ESC projects. Mine was a bit slight but I kept trying. I have decided on the topics I wanted to work on, read many project info packs, and written many motivational letters. Long story short, I have got accepted to this project in Bratislava! 

Now, let me introduce my project a little bit. I am working in a kindergarten, helping the teachers and teaching the kids English for 3 months already. While I am doing this, I am using the skills and talents I have and make the learning process funnier for them. For instance, I am an engineer who likes to make music. In that case, I am adding creativity, critical thinking, and also artistic skills to my project to have fun and create something beautiful. This does not have to be artistic skills always. Many people add many things to their projects, new ideas, creativity, leadership, problem-solving, technical or communication skills. What matter is, you use these skills to make your project useful for everyone.

So… So far I gave you the basics of ESC, but how is mine going? To be honest, it goes quite well since I am working with wonderful people. My coordinator, my teachers, my mentor, and many more people are doing their best to make this experience the best for me. I always feel welcomed thanks to the Slovak hospitality. It is unbelievable to meet people and have nice friends in a new country which I did not know that much about before this project. Hence, I can say that I almost feel at home here thanks to the kind people I have met. I am learning the culture and the language, and as a Turkish person who comes from a rich cuisine, I am savoring a lot of Slovak dishes (I even got used to the sweet main dishes and kinda enjoying them). In short, I am happy to have the chance to try something new and get new colors in my life every day.

Before I finish my writing, I would like to say that you should definitely search for ESC opportunities or at least some organizations that you can volunteer at. I am pretty sure that you will find a youth association where you can offer your experiences and knowledge. If I did it as the shyest person, trust me, you can also do it. It is never too late to be a volunteer and share your vision with others. Maybe you will realize that you want to experience this program as well more closely like me and become a project volunteer. Who knows? The answer is you if you take this one step and enjoy what life brings to you afterward… ☺ 

Text a foto: Ilayda Paran

Ilayda je dobrovoľníčka programu Európsky zbor solidarity na projekte v detskom centre Hlavička. Projekt bol podporený z programu EÚ Európsky zbor solidarity.

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