My name is Viktoriia and I came from Ukraine. Before the project I’ve been to Turkey once visiting my friend, so I was aware a bit about Turkish culture and mental features of locals. I knew that people there are very friendly and hospital, willing to help guests to feel comfortable and welcomed. I didn’t have fears about coming to Adana, even though I had a clear understanding that language barrier might complicate daily routine for the foreigner, on the other hand, such kind of situations give you more space for creativity how to establish communication and explain your needs. So I was very curious how it would be. In addition, I came to the project not alone, but with my best friend, that’s probably also another reason why it was not stressful for me at all to start my experience here.
Immediately after arrival we commence our exploration of local cuisine, our mentors from Association kindly picked us up from the airport and brought to try Adana kebab. It was a very nice gesture proving my aforementioned representation of Turkish hospitality. The programme team, mentors and other volunteers gave me very good impression, everyone tried to do her or his best to make our stay as much pleasant as possible.
As for activities, we were preparing English speaking club and Ukrainian cultural evening. It was interesting for me to try the role of the teacher, as before I used to make presentations only as a student and the main goal in that case was to explain your idea mainly to the professor, but with speaking club, I’m learning how to dedicate attention and convey information to everyone, despite different levels of participants, and mostly listen to the people, than speak by myself all the time.
For now, I’ve been staying only for a week in Adana, but my impression that it has been much longer period of time. Guys were taking care of us all these days introducing new places, inviting to try local cuisine, explaining differences between Ukrainian and Turkish approach in some situations. After one week here I already can manage crossing roads, as traffic in Adana seems a bit crazy for me, comparing to Ukrainian one; to say how many pides I want, instead of intensively pointing with fingers; ask for price discount, even if I will not understand the answer, but why not?)
Hello! At first let me introduce myself,my name's Nelli and I'm from Ukraine. I want to tell you about my first impressions about this project and about all my feelings regarding cultural and national features of Turkey. When I found out that I was accepted for this project, I was so inspired because every time a trip to a new place means new acquaintances for me, the discovery of a new culture and new opportunities to know myself. So this time wasn't an exception. But I couldn't even expect some features regarding the people who live here (because people are always the main interest for me),so let's talk about Turkish hospitality: it's really at the highest level,the people are so friendly, so helpful, I couldn't even imagine that someone unknown can treat you this way. So, the human factor didn't give me any worries, moreover, I can say that I feel here as at home in Ukraine. What about cultural features, the main problem for me is the language, most of people don't know English,so it's a bit complicated to explain what you want and even if you was able to explain something it's almost impossible to understand the answer But still our mentors taught us some words in Turkish like " Merhaba" which means "Hello", "Günaydın" which means "Good morning", "Tamam" which means "Ok", and the most useful "Indirim" which means "Discount")). So, every day I'm becoming smatter and more Turkish. But of course even with volunteers sometimes I have problems in communication,when you want to tell so much,to describe something, especially when it comes to some moral and ethical topics, some peculiarities of your culture, but your entire vocabulary is limited to the words "this is very "interesting, good and wonderful",every time you forget the simplest words and you become angry with yourself when you can't even build a sentence normally, not to mention some complex turns. One thing is a bit difficult for me and it's the weather, there's too hot,so even if you have day off,you're so tired and in the evening the situation doesn't change. As for my duties during the project, they aren't so complicated or boring as they could be when you work at your regular job. We had to prepare and hold an English speaking club,so in opinion may be it wasn't the best English lesson in my teaching career, but still the atmosphere was friendly and it was a good experience for me when you have to explain something without using any Russian words and your Ukrainian accent isn't clear to everyone in the class. Also we had cultural evening where me and another volunteer from Ukraine Victoria were presenting our culture and language. We cooked some Ukrainian dishes I don't think than the guys liked our cuisine,may be because of differences in taste preferences or most likely because our culinary skills But still it was funny to observe people's reactions to different tastes, to your native language, to your jokes (because it is always difficult to make jokes not in your mother tongue). As for the Turkish food, I believe that upon returning home I will need to enroll in the gym, because I can't stop eating all this delightful sweets and pastries. And I am really grateful to all the people from the organization,they really take care about us, they take us to different places to try their national cuisine, we have the opportunity to visit historical sites and hear stories from local people (I mean our mentors and other volunteers from organisation) about their city, culture and traditions. Also at the weekend we went to the sea, for me it was the most amazing day this week, because we had the opportunity to spend time with volunteers in informal atmosphere,we swam a lot and at the end of the day,we watched a beautiful sunset, shared our impressions of the past week and thought about the plans for the next.