City of Gaziantep met us with sunny and warm weather. Grass was still green and it felt like it was spring, not winter. Even though Gaziantep is located not far from Syrian border, we can assure you that there is no danger in living there. The city looked a bit crowded, with lots of cars and noise. But it has its own unique atmosphere. People there are kind and polite. As foreigners we attracted the looks of locals, but they were always eager to help. But be aware that most of them did not speak English, only youth.
At first the project was a bit challenging. Every Monday we had a meeting, where we had to choose our weekly activities. Afterwards, we had a preparation time, when we discussed our plans for upcoming lessons. We were teaching English to kids and adults with funny games and exercises, organizing conversational clubs with adults, where we were discussing some serious issues and topics. Amongst others we also had: painting, handcrafts, dance, origami, сhess lessons. During one of our activities we were going to different villages to meet local children. We were painting faces of kids, dancing together, playing volleyball and chess. All activities were quite interesting. The most important thing was that we brought joy to the children.
Moreover, during two months we had Arabic and Turkish lessons and trainings for volunteers, which were really useful. We enhanced our personal, professional and intercultural competences and learned how to work in a team.
The culture of city and Turkey is also something special. Especially local cuisine, bazaars and shops. Full of spices and nuts, different kinds of lukum and baklava and many others things they will never stop to surprise you with new tastes and flavors. Traditional cuisine is really diverse and rich. Also we have tried Arabic cuisine like falafel and humus. In the evenings volunteers sometimes cooked traditional dishes of different nations. So there was a chance to try dishes from all over the world. We also had a chance to make traditional Ukrainian dinner for all the volunteers. They thoroughly enjoyed our cuisine, especially Ukrainian borshch.
Even though we were quite busy during the week, we still had our free weekends. So we used them to travel. During two months we visited: Antakya, Sanlourfa, Halfeti, Mardin, Iskenderun, Mersin, Kahramanmaras, Cappadocia, Ankara and Istanbul. Usually we were doing hitchhiking and using couch surfing to save money, we met a lot of good people, who were willing to help us. Our journeys left us many unforgettable memories.
So never hesitate to come to Gaziantep and make your impact. Do your Bit via EVS for a Better World! It is unforgettable intercultural experience!
Taras Taburanskyi, 23 years, Alina Skriabina 26, years