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EVS in Gaziantep

The important things in life always happened by accident. In my case, this beautiful accident was the European Volunteer Service. Perhaps, the decision to become EVS volunteer was the most impulsive in my life: in a week after receiving an invitation, I went to such a familiar for every Ukrainian but at the same time mysterious country Turkey.

I didn't know what to expect from work and life there, I didn't even know where I was going to live. However, after living a month in Gaziantep and having experienced the culture shock, I can genuinely say that I fell in love with every second I spent in Turkey.


My field of study is psychology. Undoubtedly, in addition to academic knowledge, a good psychologist needs practice, as well as continuous personal development. I worked in a team of 16 volunteers from Slovakia, Italy, Germany, Portugal, and Ukraine. Our work was related to non-formal education. We were teaching English to children from Syria and Turkey, were running speaking clubs for Afganians refugees and local youth center staff. Our mission was to inspire children to learn, to make them believe in their power and to convince them that they can achieve whatever they want. We have been working at the Turkish Red Cross and the Solidarity Association with ASAM seekers and migrants.

Our work was not easy because most of the children and adults we have worked with were refugees from Syria who have experienced many horrific events in their lives. The war has forced them to leave their homes and run away  to a foreign country without any guarantees or confidence in the future.

I have to admit, that psychologically it was challenging because culture traditions, religion, clothes, people's way of thinking, their standard of living, their country's problems were very different. On the streets, I often caught the glances of other people. For the first time in my life, I felt so foreign. However, Turks are the most hospitable nation in the world. There people will always help you and greet with a smile on their face; there, people admire their history, culture, religion. There values of love and family ​​come first.

The beauty of nature in Turkey is impressive, and traditional cuisine is one of the richest and most delicious in the world. Turkish people still remember traditional recipes and cooking methods. In Turkey you can hear traditional music everywhere, musicians play on traditional musical instruments in pubs and wedding celebrations are still the same as many years ago.

Among the Erasmus students, the popular phrase is "Once Erasmus, always Erasmus." Indeed, Erasmus is changing the perception of the world, attitude to yourself and your country. It inspires to change and never stop learning, and experience gained through this international program will forever remain in the heart as the most pleasant memories.

Now, after 2 months at home, I consider this experience as one of the best in my life. I have no words to express my thankfulness to every person I met on my way in Turkey. I am grateful to destiny for the opportunity to learn more about another culture learn more about yourself and become a better person. I keep getting this feeling of love for the humanity realizing of which came during the project, and I keep getting this feeling of love to such a foreign culture in which I found kindness, sincerity, and understanding.

Kliuieva Olena