Falinge Park High School

Opening Doors; Unlocking Potential

Assalamualaikum, It’s Antonio here to update you all on the last day in Istanbul. I have really enjoyed myself and do not want to come home. I am so glad I put myself forward to attend this trip because I have made so many new memories and friends.

This week has been so very wonderful for me. It has been my first time in Turkey and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. I have enjoyed learning about new cultures but even more than this I have loved bonding with my fellow students from our school as I don’t normally speak to them. And of course I have loved beating Miss Malik in our competitions.

So as it was our last day we had to give some feedback to the organisers about how we were going to share our experience at the project with our organisations back home. We told the group that we had been writing a blog post each day by each different member to allow other students and staff to see what was going on. We also planned a quick presentation where we described how we would share our experience in an assembly. I like talking during this activity about the different things we had achieved and the memories we made because it all goes by so fast that you forget specific moments.

Once we had done this, Mehmet said we were free for the rest of the day.  I spent most of the day with Tayyab and Miss Malik, beating them at Blackjack. I also taught Miss Malik how to play draughts, which I had been taught by my Turkish friend Gami. No surprises at who won the game (it wasn’t Miss Malik). To be perfectly honest, the project had been so full on that now we finally had a moment of peace we were all really tired. Miss Malik and I fell asleep in the reception area for some time before we were woken up by the arrival of new guests to the hotel.

After waking up, Tayyab, Miss and I headed back to the room to pack our stuff and be prepared to leave. Miss Malik had some extra liras lying about and I asked if we could go spend them in the shop. However, the snow was too bad to leave the hotel and there was no chance of us going on our own. Instead we started to talk about how Sheraz had informed us of how the workers in the hotel work hard all year round and don’t even get a minimum wage, as it doesn’t exist in Turkey.

This made me realise that, instead, we should donate our extra liras to the cleaning and cooking staff who had honestly looked after us so well. I went to the girls room to tell them of our plan. The girls agreed it was a good idea. We gathered all our extra cash and gave it to Miss to look after until dinner time when we planned to give it to them.

In the meantime, we had to finish packing and get ready for the farewell party. We went down for dinner and we had the best chicken and rice and macaroni and cheese. It was delicious. We called over Mehmet and informed him of our plan; we asked if he would translate for us and tell the staff how much we appreciated their help. He gathered everyone’s attention and then I got to do the honours of handing over the money to the staff. I gave a short speech to the entire restaurant about how we wanted to give back to the people who had looked after us all week.

I could tell the staff were very grateful and it felt good to do something nice for someone else. Being on this trip has taught me that being kind to others is one of the best things you can do; it isn’t hard and it makes the world around you a better place.

Anyway on to the fun stuff: the farewell party. This was a chance for us to share one last moment with the group dancing and having fun. I would tell you more about what happened but we as a group had a rule: what happens in Istanbul, stays in Istanbul!

I will really miss being on this project because it has been even better than I could have expected. I’ve made friends, learnt dances and tried things I would never have done in Rochdale. I just want to let people know that if they ever have an opportunity to do an Erasmus Project, they really should because it was one of the best decisions I have made so far.

So there you have it, our second Istanbul blog experience ends here but I hope it is only one of many for me!

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