I am a landscape architect. Before EVS, I had a 3-year work experience as a project supervisor. Also, I am a Turkish folk dance instructor and I have been training children from 5 to 18. I thought that it could be a wonderful experience in my lifetime which would never happen again.That’s why I chose to participate into this project. Although I worked with children, this experience was very extraordinary as well as difficult. Because my organisation works with mentally and physically disabled children. Most of the children didn’t have speaking ability and understood only Macedonian. So, it was really hard to have communication with children at the beginning. I kept in step with children’s daily routines. We did some routine activities related with maths, art, sports, and dance. We also walked around and went to the park to socialize and took some sunshine when the weather was good. In fact, I tried to make them gain new skills doing various things together.
My speaking level of English was not good before my EVS. So, I hesitated to communicate with children, their parents, teachers as well as local people. I improved my both language; English and Macedonian by the help of this project. Because, I had to communicate with teachers and people around me in English. I had to communicate with children in Macedonian even word by word. Sometimes it was enough to understand each other. My other hesitation was not to adapt to their life. The children taught me so many things while I taught to them. They have their own personalities. If they do not want to do something, nobody can push them for it. But you can show
and teach them, and then let them show you how they express themselves.
Now, I know how I can act when they need to help and when I want to communicate with disabled people. My volunteer friend, Soner and I organized workshops and events. We organized “a barbeque party” in our backyard for children. We introduced Turkish food and culture with our Turkish guest from Turkey. It was such a good activity for all of us to know each other. We also organized public dance workshops with the permission of the municipality each Tuesday and Thursday almost for 2 months.
I visited almost all Macedonian cities. I can say that I know about %80 of Macedonian culture right now. I have so many local and international friends from all over the world. I sang songs, travelled, and tasted new food and drinks with my friends. Of course, it was not perfect all the time, but no one can be perfect. Every problem has its own solution. I have learned so many things that I am going to use for lifetime. During this project, I got out of my comfort zone and got to know myself better. This kind of sustainable projects open new doors to improve your skills. In my opinion, everybody should try it! I am sure you will love it! Thank you for your patience to read my article about my EVS experience.