Youth exchange in Istanbul Turkey took place 01.04.-09.04.17. Topic of the project was volunteering. Project was developed for youngsters at ages between 16-30 years. Every country sent 7 active and motivated participants. Chosen participants from Estonia were between ages of 16-23. Participating countries were Norway, Slovakia, Slovenia, Lithuania, Turkey, Hungary and Croatia. Organization Diyarbakır Çevre ve Kalkınma Derneği chose Marnas four star hotel in Bayrampaşa in Istanbul as a accommodation. Sending organization from Estonia is NGO Seiklejate Vennaskond. Reimbursement of travel costs for participants from Estonia is up to 170 euro.
All Estonian participants came to Istanbul 2 days earlier to get to know Istanbul more.
At starting day of project, 01. april, we were accommodated to beautiful rooms and we had some rest. At evening we met participants from other countries and had a dinner with them. This hotel was our home for a week.
About the schedule – breakfast (Swedish type) was from 07.00-10.00. First session was from 10.00 to 11.00, then we had coffee break and after that second session. After the second session we had lunch from 13.30 to 14.30. Fortunately we had free time for after lunch relax and discovering the area. Next session started at 15.30 and at 17.00 we had next break and after that last session. Dinner was at 19.00. After dinner we had time to socialise with others or just to spend time however we wish. At 21.00 we had evening activities such as intercultural nights, Eurovision night and parties up to participants to choose the thematic.
Trainer was good, accepted everybodys needs and participants were very friendly towards each-other.
In this project we got to know other cultures and hopefully we are now more willing to understand and tolerate them. Also we were very motivated and encouraged to participate in other nationalities dances, games and other activities related to their culture. We learned about others cuisine, music and much more.
During the sessions we had various activities. For example a debate about allowing or forbidding abort was really exciting cause some participants were taking it really seriously and you could see that people really cared about the subject.
We had a great chance to meet local people during the session but also independently during our free time. For example one of our tasks at the beginning of the exchange was to do „mission possible“. We had tasks such a to make a selfie with locals, to ask them about Turkey and to get know the place. Another outside activity to involve locals were „free hugs“ campaign in which we created posters with our national groups and spread some love(and hugs) outside. People reactions were very very different, some of them were very enthusiastic, others not so much. We met people who were positive and open minded who came to hug us, language barrier was not problem, cause smiling is international. Also, we hear a serious lectures from older Turkish ladys, in Turkish. It seemed, like free hugs campaign is really not something they can accept here.
In order to also have some visible outcome, and to promote project more, we also made a brochure, active Facebook page and a video about this spesific project.
Summary was made by Rahel Tammiste.
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