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Volunteering in Geged, Gaziantep

Gaziantep is a unique city with a rich culture to which you absolutely can't remain indifferent. It is considered to be the capital of Turkish food (and it's truly amazing), but mostly I was interested in people. Gaziantep is very friendly to all the tourists and gives you a warm welcome; with the time you find your favorite spot with freshest veggies, sellers memorize your name and ask for some facts about your country. Local people love to share their traditions and most likely will invite you to come to their house for breakfast or dinner - that's the best thing that could happen to you to know the culture from the inside.

 

The main part of the volunteering is always the activities. The choice is quite big (you can even learn how to cook or sew), but I spent many hours teaching kids English. It's a great opportunity to try yourself in the educational sphere since you can plan the lesson, organize games and test new techniques. With kids, we've read some most famous pieces from English literature, grammar basics and played games. It is quite difficult to find a good combination of digital material and relevant information on the topic, but in the group of volunteers, we created really good classes that I am still proud of. You can try everything you want and then choose a thing which is closer to your heart.

 

Turkey is a beautiful country, I know it for sure because each moment we had free space in our schedule we spent discovering its culture. I've learned the basics of the language trying to find the right directions or shelter for the night. Days in the cities unknown before made me closer with other volunteers and left an unforgettable experience from locals. Many stories have come through us, we've learned about war and its consequences, about bravery and willingness to help others, about hope and life in the community where you respect even if you don't have much in common. Through the stories of Turkish and Syrian people, I understood what I would like my story to be - once you come you always want to come back.

Sofiia Merzlikina