“Doing something for better and not expecting payback has always brought me a great joy.” • Barbare Janjalashvili

Barbare Janjalashvili is a Georgian volunteer who will join Non-gormental organization GEGED in Gaziantep, Turkey and carry out her short-term European Solidarity Corps project funded by Erasmus +. Read what she says about her upcoming experience:

“There is no doubt that the reality we have been living in for the past year and a half, has shown us how much we take for granted. However, if we look at it from the bright side, the pandemic made us reassess our lives, goals and dreams.

I am Barbare, 18 years old freshman at International Black Sea University, studying international relations and politics. As somebody who has been used to living an active life, being locked at my home was a very tough experience I never wish to face again. I loved participating in camps, meeting new people, organizing events with them, challenging myself by taking part in various contests and all of a sudden, all of this was taken away. However, I tried to see it as an opportunity to think about what to do next and started looking for the ways I could still pursue my goals and return my active life back, at least to some extent.

Doing something for better and not expecting payback has always brought me a great joy. I loved helping kids at my school do their homework, I found sharing my knowledge and experience with other people very enjoyable and motivating to do more. As a result, I have had a certain experience in volunteering, however, I could not imagine I would be able to do what I love in another country, in a culturally diverse atmosphere with the people from different backgrounds.

On a very random day of overthinking and scrolling Facebook, I came across BITISI’s post calling for volunteers for a short-term project in Turkey. I never knew I could click on something that fast! I quickly looked through the info pack, the two-months long project was taking place at GEGED, a volunteering center that mainly focuses on improving the life of disadvantaged local youth and refugees from Syria. Since I loved kids and tutoring, I almost instantly decided to apply. Thus, it is located in this beautiful (I have already looked through every single image I could find in google) city, Gaziantep, called Antep in the past. I have had the attraction towards old cities with deep roots and Gaziantep is one of those, which is also very well-known for its cuisine and culturally diverse population.

I am so excited for this experience, and the fact that I have never been abroad before, strengthens these emotions more. I assume that many people consider volunteering abroad as a very rare chance, however, I would not assume so. Motivation to try something you have never done before is enough to get you through the selection process (take this piece of advice from a first-year penguin who had no clue how to write a CV and sent the very first outcome to the organization). So, moral of the story – you never know what happens, so what is stopping you from accepting the challenge that has been stuck in your head lately?” – Barbare Janjalashvili.