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1st month in Sivas

More than one month here in Sivas is gone and I think: fortunately, I still have about 4 months left.

When I arrived on the 2nd of January, I was both excited and a little bit scared: only 2 weeks before leaving I graduated and I was going to start my new year in a new country, whose language and culture were almost totally unknown to me.

But as soon as I arrived, everyone in association and every person I met have been extremely kind to me: they welcomed me warmly, helping me to settle in the best way and making me feel at home. And when sometimes I feel sorry for all their attentions, they just answer “that’s what friends do”; so, I realize I have found great friends here.

Sometimes it’s not easy to communicate with everyone: unfortunately, there’s a considerable lack of English speaking in Turkey, in fact many young people complain that at school they focus on grammar rules, but they don’t learn speaking English. There’s the same problem in Italy among young people. That’s why I realize what a great opportunity this association is giving to them: for free, they can join speaking clubs, English courses and meet foreign volunteers, like me. I try to involve them in little chatting, even if I can see that most of them are maybe shy, maybe afraid and so they just let someone else to translate for them. Nevertheless, I can see they’re making efforts and sometimes a smile or a hug are enough to communicate. Universal language: that’s amazing.

Once a week, I also go to a high school where I’m English assistant: I see that’s a great opportunity for those teenagers, because they understand that English is actually necessary to speak with foreign people. I really enjoy these lessons because students are funny and enthusiastic. Furthermore, I give Italian lesson once a week and I’m really satisfied of this: guys really want to learn Italian, they learn quick and they appreciate my teaching.

On the other hand, I am also learning Turkish: a volunteer gives me lessons and also other people try to teach me words and sentences. Unfortunately, every time people ask me if I speak Turkish, I answer “biras biras” (little little), but actually it’s really little my knowledge of Turkish. But I still have time to improve it!

Therefore, for the moment I especially work on language courses or language skills of young people here, and that’s something I really like, since I’ve studied languages. So, I think it’s a great opportunity for me to learn how to deal with a class and to develop my public speaking skills.

I look forward to starting the other social activities we’re going to do as soon as the weather will be better, but I’m also glad to have free time to spend with my friends here, having meetings together, or going to listen live music, or just going some restaurants or cafés. I am discovering Sivas and I like it: despite the cold and snowy weather, there are many places to go, many activities to do, and you can go by walk almost everywhere.

I’m also lucky because I’m having the time to visit and see also other places in Turkey: I already visited Samsun, Kapadokia and I will go to Istanbul in the end of the month. I enjoy discovering the differences between landscapes, food and services; so, I still have many other destinations in my mind to visit

Therefore, I am having great time here in Sivas. I think I am really lucky to have joined this project.
Fortunately, I still have about 4 months left!


Jerica Belen