Hi everybody! I am Merve ALTINTAŞ, from Izmir.

   If you are reading this paragraph, you have encountered ESC, which is a great opportunity for young people. First of all, I would like to thank my sending organization, System and Generation, and my host organization, International Youth Center.

   After I graduated as a nurse, I started looking for health-related volunteering projects. As a result of my searches, I came across System and Generation’s 2-month short-term ESC project in Sofia, Bulgaria. When I found out that I was accepted to the project, I was really happy. Our project was about informing young people about the Red Cross's activities. I had the opportunity to meet many responsible and volunteers working at the Bulgarian Red Cross. This was a good experience for my personal and professional development. Who knows, maybe I'll be a Red Cross volunteer. I really want this wholeheartedly. For 2 months, I had the opportunity to explore new cultures by working in the office and living in another country. As I write these lines, I still think of my good times in Bulgaria.

   Thanks to this project, I had a lot of good experiences. While I became more familiar with the culture of our neighbouring country, Bulgaria, I also made many friends. I am lucky to be able to attend a few events despite the pandemic. Events were very important for cultural interaction. I wish I could organize more events if there was no coronavirus. Despite the pandemic, it is very important that volunteering projects continue without slowing down by taking the necessary precautions. However, I feel very lucky to be able to participate as this project was postponed. Unfortunately, besides my good experiences, I had a problem with my tooth. I had to go to the dentist 2 times. Both my sending and host organization, especially my mentor, followed the process closely. I am sure that nobody wants to have health problems in a foreign country. However, they never left me alone. I am grateful to everyone who deals with me.

   It is a very nice feeling to be a volunteer in another country by helping people. It is a great honour for me to help people. I wish my volunteering efforts/activities to continue at full speed despite the pandemic. I would like to thank again and again everyone who gave me this opportunity. Hope to keep in touch with you while volunteering elsewhere.