Merhaba, my name is Julia, I’m from Poland and I was a volunteer for EVS in S&G in Ankara. It was my first time in Turkey. I stayed there two months and I can say, that it is definitely too short!

Turkey surprised me in many ways. I’ve never been to the country that is so welcoming and with hospitality like in here. Plus, it is incredible beautiful.

I wasn’t scared at all before coming here, even if there are some prejudices of being abroad, far away from home in a country which is so different than yours and you don’t speak even a word in its language.

Istanbul was crazy, full of tourists mixed with locals, noisy, colorful and it amazed me with variety of places I wanted to see and visit. Coming from there to Ankara was like entering another new world, these cities are really different, with different vibes and atmosphere.

I enjoyed living there, Turkey is really big and there are still so many many many places to discover.
I studied photography in Poland, and considering that, this country is the perfect place for me! It is full of amazing beautiful places and happenings awaiting for you at each step.

I can say that time we had spent together, me and my flatmates found a few of our favorite places where we got to know the owners and even made some friends with them. During the days of the week we were doing our chores, and on weekends we traveled to another cities and on the evenings we enjoyed our time together and with other friends we met there.

By we, I mean our group from project, Noemi, Calin, Gina and Domenico. We make a really good pack of friends after this one month, so we travel and spend most of the time together.
My impressions about EVS here, in S&G were quite good, we had a lot of free time, so we could discover the city and even the whole Turkey. Of course, we had everyday chores and schedule, but beside the fact that this is hard work, it has been also an adventure and pleasure to make other people happy and to do something meaningful and good. Maybe, for me sometimes there was too few of these things connected to volunteering, but travelling and getting experience are the best things to do in live and I think this is the main idea of EVS and Erasmus+.

After two months, Ankara became my next home, place to live. With knowing my favorite and least favorite places, areas, activities and food (!), I can say I could spend there more time to discover more and more. Turkey got me. This country is the second after Poland, where I live that long. And it got me, I will definitely leave some piece of me here.

Ankara is the city that right now I will always connect with cig kofte, sarma, kofte from night bazar, ayran, kokorec, cay and night bazar in Kizilay, where you can experience and see a rich variety of street artists, stuff to buy and eat, full of people and it is pulsing with life and lights. It is unique and at the same time it is nothing special, but the way you make it special for you and how significant it becomes during staying here is hard to describe. I came here without knowing Turkish language, a little bit lost, little bit dizzy, because everything was so new and strange. And left it with knowledge how people live here and how to find myself actually living here.

I traveled a lot, I’ve been to the east: Mardin, Gaziantep and Hatay, to Konya, to Beypazari, to Istanbul, and to Cappadocia, with people that I met here and after these two months I can call them my friends.

These are the main advantages of going to EVS. People, travels and unforgettable experiences. We worked here with people with disabilities and with refugees and these moments when you do something good to the others with no expectations are lesson for life and that makes you cry and gives you huge goosebumps.

I came back to Poland more open and with this amazing energy that I can share with my friends and family.

I left Turkey with feeling of mixed sorrow and happiness, I know I will never forget this time. And I know that moments from there will be one of the very best memories for life.

Text by Julia, a volunteer from Poland, participant of the project in Ankara organised by organisation S&G (System and Generation).