A long journey… a fresh start…the heartbeat you get when you set off to new adventures, not knowing how it will all end up being, who you will grow into afterwards, who you will meet, what you will see, hear, taste, learn…all you know is that you are so ready for this long-awaited …or for some spontaneous trip towards the unknown…
You take with you your luggage, but what’s heavier and more crucial to take on an ESC journey are your fears, expectations, excitement, determination…having those dancing around in our head we took off…
After countless hours spent at different airports, 2 planes, a few bus rides, many laughs, inside jokes, and setting a start to our unbreakable friendship….there we were….in the breathtaking city of Bodrum, located in the southwestern Aegean Region of Turkey.
All of the participants there, including us…had different backgrounds, different reasons for being there, different expectations…yet there was something so similar about us…we all shared the same passions: environmental protection, art, youth work, and most importantly-volunteering.
This group ESC was like the most perfect mix of Erasmus+ project that you can get…you get to do volunteer work in a different country, yet do it together with a group.
Starting the first moment, immediate connections were made, we had a whole month together, but we spent every second as if we were about to leave the very next day.
We had so much to learn from each other, so much to give to each other, so much to do together, so many brainstorming sessions, creativity outbursts, sketching, planning, helping a good cause as the powerhouse as we had become…because we were there to fill each others’ shortcomings and give it all we had got!
The first week is always the most fun: meeting new people, getting used to your new home, new environment, new country, new types of people who bring new perspectives into your world.
In an ESC world, the first week also means- on arrival training!!! You gotta hand it to the amazing team of Bodrum Dance Club, our amazing host organization, with the most wonderful, the funniest and the smartest trainer Berat, the most welcoming, kind and gorgeous mentors Arina, Selin, Ezgi and Ale to make the training and the entire period of adjustment the smoothest and the most motivational one ever! I strongly believe we will use all the problem-solving techniques, all the things we figured out about ourselves during the sessions about volunteer work in both our professional and professional lives.
Spending the afternoons learning about how to make this one month the best possible experience for us, and making it unforgettable in the evenings was our routine for the first week.
Then the next thing we knew, the week had passed and it was time to get to work! We were gathered there around one cause: environmental protection using Land Art as the main tool to reach out to people. Some of us were there as artists, architects, photographers, florists, youth workers, social media specialists, designers etc. We all had things we were good at and things we had no clue about, but eager to learn from the ones who did.
So many creative ideas, so many ambitious thoughts, so much sketching, so many discussions, meeting and breaking our heads over finding our main concept: that’s what our next 2 weeks looked like. They also consisted of learning about each other, helping each other, making connections and bonds, cultural nights, going to our favourite spots in Bodrum( *cough* Black Rock *cough*), exploring it and the nearby cities, learning Turkish, and just living our best lives!
Even though we never got to turn our visions into reality, do everything we planned and designed so thoroughly, because of the current situation in the world, we still consider this project to be a success! We fell in love with Bodrum, and we know it’s always ready to welcome us back into its tiny, beautiful, hospitable streets. We made every second count, we made unbreakable friendships, we changed and grew into someone better, more experienced than we were the day before, and that is the main idea and objective behind an ESC project.