I’m Sibel Uluçay, 24 years old. This year I graduated from French Language and Literature as a bachelor’s degree.
I participated in a long-term project on non-formal education in Romania between 07.05.2021 and 30.09.2021. I also took part in a youth project on entrepreneurship in Reunion Island, France between 13.11.2021 and 21.11.2021.
Currently, my articles are published every month as a freelance writer in an online magazine. Besides, I love traveling, painting, singing and playing the guitar.
I’ve been in Brasov in June for the first time. The feeling of being there at one of the best times to explore Braşov, the heart of the Transylvania region, was incredible. Despite this, it rained lightly during the day and the weather was a bit cold. But my expectation from the Transylvania region was to see it in a rainy weather with its natural beauty. So we can say that my request has been granted! We visited many places in Braşov, which has an incredible nature, with my two Turkish friends.
Before arriving in Braşov, I was very curious about the Braşov sign on the top of the Carpathian Mountains. As you can imagine, when we arrived in Braşov, I was completely mesmerized…
We walked up to Peles Castle in Sinaia, very close to Braşov, and got a bear alert when we were on the hill. I will never forget that moment, it was a magical moment mixed with fear. Peles Castle was truly a magnificent masterpiece!
By the way, I don’t even remember how many minutes I watched it on the window when I saw the glowing “Brasov” text at night!
You must see!
Presentation of one of the structures
We started work at Biblioteca Judeteana “Alexandru D. Xenopol” in July and continued until September. These children, whose numbers varied between 5-20, were between the ages of 10-12. At the same time, we continued to work in the kindergarten by dividing into groups every week.
We used to meet at the office every week and make an activity list because we needed the exchange of ideas and teamwork for this big job. The ages of the children here were slightly older than in other centers. It still required more effort. Every week we would divide into groups and go to work that way. Although we were indoors when the weather was cold, most of our activities took place in the yard of the library.
We were doing various educational workshops, cultural days, artistic activities, storytelling and from time to time we played board games and group games. Every day was a person’s day and the subject was shaped around that person, but our other teammates also joined and helped that person. I can say that we did the most intensive work for the library with my teammates.
It was the acoustic evening on the 4th of July. That evening, as volunteers and interns of EIVA Associatia, we had the opportunity to taste various wines of our Director Cristian Babutau and his friend Cosmin at our French volunteer friends’ house. We had a wonderful intercultural night accompanied by musical instruments brought by our director from various places. We also had the opportunity to introduce the music of our own countries to each other by doing karaoke and we danced a lot!
Finally, the arrival of our other French teammate that night while we were at the party at their appartement was the best surprise that sweetened the night!
QNA Thoughts about the experience / Romania
I can say that I find myself very lucky to have had this wonderful experience, which I will never forget, at a young age.
With this project, which I spent 6 months in total, I added a lot to myself. To give an example, I came from Turkey and you don’t have many opportunities to be with foreign people there all the time. My dream has always been to get to know different ideas from around the world. I didn’t want to be limited to Turkey and I had to do something about it when I was still young. I can say that my dream came true by coming to Romania. I had many close friends from France, Romania, Réunion Island and many other countries, and everyone was very kind, friendly.
Another great achievement for me was language learning. As someone who has studied a foreign language, I had the opportunity to talk to a French person face-to-face, so I feel much more comfortable now. I have improved myself a lot, especially in English, and with the Romanian lessons I take every week, I have added another beautiful language to my life.
Our organization was perfect in every way and our director and mentor were very helpful people.
I had a dreamy 6 months!
How was it to be part of an intercultural team ?
It was very special for me to be part of an intercultural team. Because I have always been a person who wanted to know different cultures. It is a wonderful feeling to have finally fulfilled this dream.
As someone who has studied a foreign language, making language exchanges between French and English contributed a lot to me. While getting to know their culture, I also introduced them to my own culture, Turkish culture, and taught them words they did not know. Thus, we became more connected to each other, so that we are still close to each other.
My perspective on life expanded and I learned lots of new things!
A little advice for the future volunteers
I thought about it and first of all, I decided to give examples of things that I didn’t do during my volunteering, but that I thought it would be better if I did. For example, you may never have such an opportunity again and try to explore as many places as you can. For example, you can start from your neighborhood! Don’t be complacent.
Speaking of something I’ve done, don’t be shy and say hi to someone you don’t know! Afterwards, great friendships may be waiting for you!
Do not sleep in this project, which will have a small and valuable place in your life! Participate in all possible events, you will not regret it!
And of course, always help your teammate, whether at home or at work, if it’s one of the most important things you can do. Remember that he/she may be just as tired as you are!
And enjoy your volunteering, explore yourself!