Welcome to my blog about my European Voluntary Service experience! It’s my third week here in Bursa and in total I’m going to stay a whopping 10 months! That’s cray cray.
The organization I’m volunteering for is called Gönüllü Hareketi (which translates into English as “Volunteer Movement”). I will be helping out with workshops, events and the different kind of projects they do. At the moment Gönüllü Hareketi is hosting three European volunteers. I come from Finland 🇫🇮 by the way, and my fellow volunteer colleague Clara comes from Denmark 🇩🇰; the two of us are mostly involved in the activities at the office. Another volunteer from Spain 🇪🇸, Miguel, is working at a community center for disabled people.
Under this Danish influence I’ve started to use the word “hygge” again which is like an adjective to describe something that is nice or cozy something of that sort 💁♂️🇩🇰 And hyggelig it has been!
The first two weeks have been spent adjusting to these new circumstances, getting to know the city, provisioning for the flat and spending fun times with my flatmate and friends with food & movie nights. To be honest the first week was a bit overwhelming at times but that’s normal, I guess. Now I feel all settled in and excited to be here.
My flat is about an hour and 15 minutes’ commute away from the office in a student area close to the university. There are nice cafes for hanging out in that area and you can find everything you might need.
I also had my 23rd birthday during the first week here and we had a tour in the city center with some locals that day. At the office Clara & I have been meeting the people who are involved with Gönüllü Hareketi and getting orientated into our new tasks. During the first week at the English Speaking Hours we got greeted by the group; “Welcome to Bursa, hope you aren’t vegetarian!” It made us grin since neither of us is exactly too fond of meat and apparently we live in the capital of (İskender) kebab now. Seriously, can’t a girl find a can of coconut milk anywhere in this city of three million people?!
Very important meeting in our flat’s kitchen & the very practical dinner table set up
I’ve actually already been in Turkey since late December as I stayed with a lovely host family in Istanbul for a month before coming here. I met them last summer through Workaway and we travelled the Aegean Coast together by boat.
The first time I came to Turkey was almost 1,5 years ago when I stayed for a month as an au pair with an Istanbullu family. Istanbul captivated my attention. It’s great, unless you are literally captive in your car in a traffic jam, that is.
I’ve been to very beautiful places in Turkey and well, now it’s time for Bursa 😂
Well well, I’m happy to be able to do this cool project here. I’m quite hopeful to better my skills in the language during this time. I’ve already been working on it since my first trip to Istanbul but now it’s really time to step up my studying game and put it to use… by actually speaking more Turkish out loud… Oh dear!
Lastly, some snapshots from around the town, enjoy:
Until next time,