She is positive, decisive and brave, steeled in the heart of Siberia. Her family moves from Uray to Ufa, the capital city of the Republic of Bashkortostan in 1999, when she is 9. Later on, she receives her post-graduate education in Applied Computer Science and Economics.

In today’s interview we are introducing you Gyuzel, one of the 6 ESC volunteers in our team, part of the project “Volunteering circles”.

Hello, Gyuzel, it’s nice to have you here. Starting from the very beginning, can you tell us how did you decide to become a volunteer in this project?

I have been a volunteer for 5 years already. After my first volunteering experience in 2015, I got addicted and since then I have always been trying to look for opportunities in Russia or abroad. I have participated as a volunteer in many international sport events, such as the World Football Cup. Then I went to a volunteer camp in Finland and after this I got to know about EVS, because before that I didn’t know so much about it. I started to search for projects abroad related to refugees, because I really liked my experience in Finland and I wanted to work again with refugees. So, I found this project and also one in Turkey. I was accepted in both, but I chose Bulgaria over Turkey because, the project in Turkey was in a city in the border between Turkey and Syria and I was afraid to stay there.

Do you like the project you are involved in right now?

Yes, I really like to go to camps and to organize excursions for refugees and also when we organize the Refugee Month. I also really liked it. (The Refugee month is November)

What do you enjoy most in your volunteering activities?

To interact with kids.

Did you have chance to make new friends there?

No, not yet. (smiling)

And did you learn something about their culture for example?

Yes, especially these gestures. For example when you want to ask someone to come to you, you make like wave with your fingers but they do it in the opposite way.

Oh, really?

Yeah, yeah. So when you do it your fingers they look up but when they do it their fingers look down because when you do it with the fingers looking up that means that you want to come and mock the person and for them it is rude.

Interesting. And how do you find the life in Sofia. Is it easy to live here or not so easy?

In the beginning it was difficult, because before that I was living with my parents and I didn’t have to face with problems like buying stuff every day and cleaning all the time, but here I am responsible for my life by myself so I have to think about all these things starting from food, cleaning, also leisure time and everything. So I think I became more independent here.

What was the most challenging thing for you in your work, life, adapting here?

I didn’t have problems with the language, so maybe the currency. Because in the beginning I had to convert everything to Russian rubles, because I didn’t know the value of leva, I know the value of Russian rubles that’s way I had to convert and every time when you go somewhere if you pick up 10 things, you convert 10 things in your mind but then I realized I need to think in levas not in rubles.

How do you spend usually your free time?

Before the quarantine I tried to participate in as many activities as I could. My friends volunteers, who I met during the trainings, were often organizing storytelling, cultural nights, I tried to go and visit them. Also I had a sport card, I was going almost every day to the gum and I practiced yoga, also I was making videos for my Youtube channel. 

Do you find this volunteering experience helpful for your self-development?

Oh yes, I think yes. I started to understand myself more. I think I have become more independent open-minded really. Because as I live in a Muslim Republic we have a lot of restrictions. Here you can do all you want and no one will judge you, that’s way I think yeah I have become more open minded and patient as well.

Do you have any plans what you want to do after your project?

No. (smiling)

What about during your project, would you like to travel somewhere after the quarantine?

I would like to visit some places, but as Russian citizen I don’t have Schengen visa to travel, so probably I will travel only to Balkan countries I haven’t been before, like Albania, Crna gora.

Are there any tips you would like to share to the future volunteers?

To take advantage from the beginning, from the day you come here, be initiative, spread your ideas, don’t wait for a task but be really active and initiative.

Thank you very much Gyuzel. We wish you good luck with the rest of the project and many unforgettable experiences.

With friends at Rila’s lakes
“Human library: Make food, not war” at Cinema House, November 2019
During Human library in Plovdiv, September 2019
Drum circle
In front of the Belgrade Fortress

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