Hi, my name is Berkay and I’m a mechanical engineering student at Abdullah Gül University (AGU). This is my first blog post and I would like to share one of the international experiences I got since I joined AGU.
One day I came across an announcement on the Facebook page of my University (via its Youth Factory Department), which was offering for all students the opportunity to join an Erasmus+ (famous European Commission Program) project against Racism (Face the Race!) in Budapest (Hungary). My university was one the partners of this project, which I decided to immediately apply for. I was very excited. Although we were only 5 days away from the publications of the results, it was hard for me to wait.
As soon as I heard that the results were published, I opened the website to check if I got selected. Unfortunately, I was only on the waiting list. Thanks god, one of the selected students decided not to participate, which allowed me to join. Before the departure to Budapest, the Youth Factory team members organized some orientation sessions for us. They gave us all the useful information we would need and shared their experience with us. Those sessions helped me a lot to control my excitement and gain knowledge about the process before my departure.
(Departure from İstanbul)
Finally we arrived in Budapest, the weather was a bit muggy. Despite the lack of sleep, the beauty of the city gave us enough strength to go out and visit. After leaving our luggage at the hotel, we immediately went out to discover the city.
(A Street in Budapest )
In the evening we started the training course with a little meeting/party. There were 28 participants from 7 different countries. Over the 7 days of training, we got to know each other, and discussed the issues of racism and discrimination. We had many meetings, European institutions representatives’ interventions (speeches) and parties. Many creative ideas emerged, and the solutions published and sent to the European Union. Some sessions consisted in games, some others in case studies and analysis. The games, especially helped me to realize what I was doing wrong, what kind of prejudice I had and how I should behave in case of argument.
Although we were missing our University, the last day was one of the most emotional for us due to the fact that all participants became very close, like a family.
(From our city tour)
Erasmus+ does not only consist in gathering people from different countries, it is a great program that enabled me to develop myself. For example, I do not judge people’s cultures before knowing them anymore. Cultural differences are positive. Differences are the values that enrich our world. The best part of this project was that I could meet with many people from different backgrounds and countries. If I go to any of their countries, I have now a place to stay and people to help me. Now that I saw the process and those lovely people, I really want to write other projects and gather different people in my city. I’m still working on my project and I will probably manage my own next year.
(The intercultural evening event)
Eventually, we left Budapest with many friendships and beautiful memories in my luggage. Still today, I keep in touch with some of the friends I made there. AGU enabled me to participate in this Erasmus+ project, which contributed to improve me personally. I really approve the creation by AGU of such opportunities for its students and encourage all my friends to participate in this experience!
Also read: Reasons To Join AGU