Hej Alihoppa, My name is Birkan Caliskan and I am writing this blog post to share the wonderful Erasmus+ Youth Exchange experience I have with ANKA Youth Association. Just 3 days before the program, I saw the last urgent call for Turkish participants living in Europe for an Erasmus exchange opportunity. That would be my second Erasmus experience but I was also so busy with my stuff. I have just given myself one night to think about it and sleep. A day after, the idea of having such an exchange experience in Italy was always in my mind and I decided to send an email to the Turkish Organization. I’ve received a response soon requesting to fill some forms attached to the email as well as the infopack. I would like to express my great appreciation and gratitude to ANKA for selecting me as a participant.
On the first day of the program, after a long, exhausting journey, I was the first participant that arrived at the hostel. But there was a problem with the list of participants at the reception. My name and neither any other Turkish participants’ names had not been written on the list. Since Rovereto is a historical small town that is a popular destination for national and international tourists, this hostel was fully booked. Therefore, participants of the Turkish team were transferred to another hotel on the outskirts of Rovereto. Adama Diaw, the project manager, welcomed me very very kindly and we check-in our room. I finally was in my room and I was pretty tired so I fell asleep. After a while, I woke up and saw my Turkish roommate, Ogan, wandering around the room. Later on the day, other Turkish participants, Nisa and Tuna also arrived. For the dinner, all partner countries met at an Pakistani Kebab-Pizza restaurant to have a welcome feast together.
On the first day of the organization, we introduce ourselves with very brief information such as the country we come from, our age and the country we represent. After the orientation, we had a discussion about the fact of diversity and cultural differences in our countries and around the world. Accordingly, each country talked on this topic and discussed differences with other countries.
On the second day, the Bulgarian team arrived in town to join us when we were having a group debate about the story of Abigail. Besides this debate, this day was pretty quiet and free for us. So we had a chance to meet with other teams and have a chat. Since Ogan had a sore throat and some other symptoms of coronavirus, we informed the organization and quarantined in our room on the third day. After Ogan tested negative, we were free to go out and join activities.
On the fourth day, since the place where we were meeting and doing activities, La Foresta, was not enough to take all of us in, we met at a beautiful Italian park. The topic of this day was dance, music and ceremonies from our countries. Therefore, each country introduced and demonstrated dance and music from their countries. As a Turkish team, we present them halay, ‘oyun havasi’ and some other national and regional dances from our country. For the remaining days of this program, we had small activities but we were mostly free to go and explore around.
When It was time to leave this adorable small Italian town, Nisa, Ogan and I took a train from Rovereto train station to Milano where I would stay a night at Ogan’s home before my flight. Since Ogan is studying in Milano, he showed us around starting from the Dome Cathedral to the Darsena- Navigli area where we had drinks together. That was my last night in Milano and Italy and I had to say goodbye to this beautiful country.
I would like to express my gratitude to the Turkish team. We had an amazing time together. Special thanks to Adama’s wife because of the delicious Senegalese and Italian food she prepared for us. I am also so glad to meet with other teams and people working at La Foresta. Indeed, my greatest appreciation goes to ANKA Youth Association, this program would not be available without them.
Some Italian words I learned from this trip:
Buonissimo: Expression used when the food is delicious
Grazie: Thank you
Buon appetito: Enjoy your meal
And of course some bad words 😉