Two months have passed by incredible fast for our most recent intern Barış Özdemir. He spent June and July with us, assisting the Mobility department and learning about youth work in the youth center. We asked Barış a couple of questions about his experience:

Barıştell us a bit about yourself.

I am originally from Samsun, Turkey. I moved to Ankara in 2010 for my bachelor studies. In 2015, I received my bachelor’s degree in International Relations. Following two years, I worked in Istanbul for a company that organizes international trade fairs. I was a part of international sales and marketing department. In September 2017, I moved to Tartu, Estonia where I do my master’s in International Relations and Regional Studies with a focus on Russia and Eurasian Studies.

Why did you decide to do an internship with CID?

I always had an interest in the Balkans. I wanted to deepen my knowledge about the region. When I had an opportunity to do an Erasmus+ internship, Macedonia was the first place that came to my mind. CID was suggested to me by a Macedonian friend of mine. When I checked CID website, I found out that CID’s mentality fitted me very well. It seemed like CID could be a place where I could learn a lot about how civil society organizations work while contributing to CID’s cause, making an impact on the local community and learning a lot about the internal dynamics of the region.

What were your main activities as an intern?

Although the initial plan was to assist the mobility officer, I had a chance to do more than that throughout my internship at CID. I was a part of daily activities in MultiКулти Youth Center. This included constant interaction with local children and youth. We organized informal Turkish lessons for children together with other Turkish volunteers. I helped staff organize several events in Kumanovo city center such as the mini festival and International Youth Day celebrations. I prepared info sheets for the summer camps and helped create advertisement brochures.

You have been here for two months. Which element of the Macedonian culture surprised you the most?

I have been to Macedonia twice before my internship, but they were shorter stays. I already knew a small bit of Macedonian culture superficially, like food and some customs. After two months, what stroke me the most about Macedonia was the people. I always felt very sincere about people’s approach to me. I made many great friends who will be a part of my life no matter how far I will be from Macedonia. Personally, I always valued such human relations above anything in life. That’s why I admire Macedonia even more now. I am not even sure if that is part of Macedonian culture, but after all, people are who make cultures what they are, so I guess it counts.

Any final remarks?

I really enjoyed my stay in Macedonia, be it from the internship perspective at CID or from life in Kumanovo in general. I already miss many things about Macedonia. I know this is definitely not the end though. I promised myself to visit Macedonia at least once a year, so we shall see each other again sometime soon.