So in between çay breaks, what do I actually do as an EVS volunteer in my hosting organization Gönüllü Hareketi? It’s the fifth week I am here in Bursa with this project; by now I’m kind of orientated enough to tell you too!
Let’s take last Tuesday as an example;
I arrived to the office at 10 am and started office work by answering some e-mails from aspiring Turkish EVS candidates. After lunch time Clara & I headed to a coffee shop on Fatih Sultan Mehmet Boulevard in order to have a meeting with The Solidarity Club. We discussed their plans on organizing intergenerational learning activities. Then at the same café I had a Turkish language class with a volunteer teacher. I left that class at around 5 pm feeling pretty stoked as I managed to spend over an hour talking in Turkish only.
[Lately I’ve been feeling like I’ve hit a plateau in my language learning process because I am not studying as actively as I used to do back in Finland (read: too lazy to open the grammar book). I am going with the “immersion method” here. But I think it’s working ! It’s kind of hard to assess your own level and progress, actually.]
Gönüllü Hareketi is run by one full time coordinator and a team of volunteer members. They have a small office in Karaman Dernekler Yerleşkesi in Bursa’s Karaman neighbourhood. The building is home to over 40 NGOs. Many meetings are held here in this office and for bigger events such as the weekly English Speaking Club (which Clara & I are running now) we use the building’s common meeting rooms or auditoriums. In addition to the regular-ish clubs there are many kinds of projects going on such as career mentoring project Benim Adım Gelecek, Toy Library project Oyuncak Kütüphanesi and a project about after school activities for kids called Oyunla Büyü.
Us EVS volunteers have about 7 hours of activities scheduled for the weekdays. For the next two months we will be working half of Saturdays too; we have a project with Oyunla Büyü in a school in Keles, a semi-remote village in the mountain area.
On Wednesdays Clara & I go to a primary school in Bursa’s Yıldırım neighbourhood and attend the English classes. We assist the teacher and play games and just have a fun time with the kids. Last week was the first time we went to the school and boy was it loud there! Kids were pretty excited to meet us and we even got some cute gifts and notes from them after class (I got a Seni seviyorum one).
It’s so interesting to observe the school world in another country. And as a product of the Finnish school system, I get a million questions about the Finnish school system here. Ask me about the Finnish school system. I will tell you about the Finnish school system. I will write about my observations on schooling in both countries one day; hang tight!