Merhaba! I am Roque, I am 27 years old from Spain. I arrived in Turkey, Ankara, one week before Corona started to change the life of the country, the 7th of march. The first week was perfect, I met a lot of people from different countries and a lot of people from Turkey. I did my first activities as a volunteer, as helping on a café with people with mental disabilities, making food for the refugees, doing conversation debates, having Turkish classes…
Also my leisure time was plenty, playing football in the university (even we made an inscription for a tournament which was cancelled afterwards), going to the gym, to the park (Segmelier, full of young people everywhere with music, dogs, and beers) spending time with friends sunbathing, hanging out during the night, making dinner for more than 10 people all together and laughing a lot… In this week I knew I will have been incredibly happy here. I notice Turkish people are very friendly and my flatmates are amazing, the volunteer activities are meaningful, and the country was cheap!
So, with my pocket money I can have an extremely comfortable life. I can eat a “Çig köfte”and “Ayran” for 0’70€ on the street or delicious natural orange juice for 0’50€, with 2€ I can eat in almost every place of Ankara. The gym is about 10€ per month, the sim card around 5€ per month with 15gb, metro (a really good metro) just 0’50 cent; in Spain all these prices are the triple.
About the language, being very different from Latin languages, It’s easy to learn a few some words for the daily basis and the people have the patient to understand and help you, here the English speakers use to be just the young people however in the flat we speak English everyday so I am improving it more here than in Ireland, which is full of Spanish people, and as I said we have Turkish classes so the communication it’s not a big issue here.
I’m very thankful to S&G (our organisation) and mostly to our coordinators (Yacopo and Esmeralda) to manage all this volunteer experience so good for us, I don’t have a minute to be bored and every day is different.
Now it’s true the things have changed a lot with this virus, but even with this matter I’m still enjoying my life where, we are still doing activities online, meeting with friends, going for a long walk in this big city (5,5 million of inhabitants) with, in my opinion, a nice weather and the city it’s beautiful with the snow (I could see it 2 days plenty of snow, I went to Ankara castle that day, was a beautiful experience) maybe it isn’t too much beautiful without it, but still have some magic, it’s a really comfortable city to life isn’t crowded, with nice people, very safety, cheap, with a lot of leisure cafés, pubs, restaurants, pubs… and with a kind of freedom open mind environment (it depends of the places but in general I feel as free than in Europe).
Now I am trying to expand my volunteer, here, I would like to feel the city again like that first week, and of course having the opportunity to travel all around this country with million things to see.
I’m for sure, when I recommend this city, volunteer and experience to everyone who enjoys to meet a lot of people, make things together, be joking all day and know a lot of different perspectives and ways to see the world.