11 dezembro 2019

O testemunho da Niki (Associacao Spin)

I spent almost 10 months in Portugal instead of the original 9 months because I managed to extend my project. I am delighted that, thanks to this possibility, I could enjoy more time with my friends, whom I found through volunteering and active social life in Lisbon.

I've experienced a lot here. NGO environment, parties, entertainment, evenings next to the river and long night talks, trips, language exchanges, jam sessions, walks around city and parks, cooking dinner together with friends, feeling of happiness, love and coherence.

I also experienced how the Portuguese bureaucracy and health system are not working, unpleasant people, a bad mornings in which I did not even want to get out of bed. Ups and downs.

But I would never have experienced all this without ESC. And I'm grateful for that. For all the positives and negatives that Lisbon has brought me.

And I will have my closest friends and Lisbon forever in my heart. Well, thank you Portugal.

Let's go to start a new chapter.

03 dezembro 2019

O testemunho do Özcan (SPEAK)

At one moment, I’m opening my eyes with the blink of the “you may unseat your belt” light and I can’t contain the adrenaline rushing through my veins dictated by stepping into a place I’ve never been before. All the advertisements, car plates and a new unknown word to ask for a bottle of water are not enough to convince my mind that I’m in a new place, some place different than I used to. It’s the shock of changing everything related to my life that tangles with my feelings and at the same time what gives me the reason to experience as many things as I can because here I am, standing in front of the Humberto Delgado Airport whispering to myself: “You’re growing out of your pot and the garden looks amazing from here.”

In the first days you feel like you don’t really belong where you are and at the same time you can’t really attach your existence to another place else. That’s what makes you free from any kind of form that you are molded into with your past experiences and gives you new things to focus on. This freedom to grow into something that matters not only for you but also for the others has always been fascinating to me and that’s why travelling, identifying new problems and working on solving them makes me feel complete. And from what I have experienced in these three weeks, SPEAK is the right place to implement new ideas thanks to their communal vision of embracing and listening to different mindsets.

As an introvert, I can say I’m quite familiar with how hard it can get for one to jump into conversation with other people and start sharing his/her life. To make this integration smoother is just one of SPEAKs aims. They organize language groups which are led by buddies and events to foster the connection between people in a city. I’ll be taking part in both activities throughout this year.

One of my favourite lyrics is from Morrissey saying, “It takes strength to be gentle and kind”. I can easily say I’ve been seeing a lot of powerful people here under this beautiful sky.