Let’s Meet inMediterranean 6 – Jan-Martin Vandrecht – 3.5 Months Volunteering in Antalya – Turkey
Name of the project: Let’s Meet inMediterranean 6
Date: 30.11.2019 – 15.03.2020
City/Country: Antalya, Turkey
I am Jan-Martin, 22 years young. My ESC volunteering project took place in Antalya, Turkey. I was there for only 3 and half months. I will discuss below why I chose to go back to Estonia earlier than usual. The topic of the project was, well i wish to write here that my project had a certain topic and activities and a space to grow professionally, but that is not true. In fact I had a rather different project than some other people. If I want to be honest then I will not discuss the info that was written in my infopack and official timetable and activity agreement of this project. When I arrived in Antalya and had been with my hosting organisation for a while, I understood that their goal is to have a very flexible project, giving the volunteer possibly a variety of different activities to choose from. So me being a sporty guy I got my job at Akdeniz University Sport Department. I was working with a man who organises and takes care of different sporting areas including a football field and athletics stadium. During my project, I did very little work with him. Oftentimes he did not have any tasks to give which is quite ridiculous in a way because I came to this project to work and I expected that there will be plenty of things to do as it is volunteering what I am doing. So I used my time there to practise throwing disc golf discs. I can be very happy about this chance at least because I have advanced my throwing technique a lot.
Another activity was English speaking club on wednesdays. Me and my flatmate were going to a youth center and conducting a speaking club. This was not a successful try because after the third week there was no participants anymore. Nobody showed up. I learned that local youth is not really interested in learning English or being sociable so much. Also I was sometimes giving an English class for the elderly. It was maybe the most valuable thing I did during my project, I gave something to people who need and want it.
Furthermore I learned to speak turkish, only the basics though, we had class once per week and it’s not enough. But I surely can understand turkish more than ever. I also learned to play local cultural instrument Baglama. My coordinators husband is a notorious teacher in Antalya.
So why did I quit from all this? The main reason was that since my coordinators and their organisation had very few people who understand English language ( that is kind of unbelievable actually), then it was easy to misinform or not inform about everything. I was misinformed or not informed about my main activities and living conditions. There was an eerie feeling that my coordinators just had volunteers for their own benefit. Of course this is only my personal opinion based on the situation I found myself in. Most of the time in Antalya I had nothing much to do. This is a direct cause of the lack of organising the project from the coordinators perspective.
That being said I can add that since I met my coordinator about a year before my project happened, I took a lot of things for granted. I was not curious enough. I just knew that I will go to Turkay to have a perfect experience. I had visualised and expected things ahead of my departure. So my words for all the people who are considering doing an ESC project: there are a lot of actually well organised and prepared projects out there, the main thing to prevent my situation is to BE CURIOUS!! Well in advance be curious about your activities, living conditions, monthly support money. Moreover ask for contacts of previous volunteers of that same project. They can tell everything that the infopack will never say. If needed, demand pictures of the living conditions and work areas.Then I am sure that it is possible to have a great project.
This Project was financed by European Commission’s Erasmus + Programme