Personal Development Program - From The Eyes of the Students

1. What have you gained through TIKAV?

Because of TIKAV, I have learned to look towards the future with hope and make better plans for the future. I’ve found myself in environments that I could never have dreamed of before. Through the sanctity of love and respect, I freed myself from my prejudices, met myself, increased my self-confidence, gained new perspectives and believed in the impossible. I saw that my future was just like clay; it’s in my hands to shape it.

2. What were your expectations of the Personal Development Program?

I had found out that I had been accepted to TIKAV’s Personal Development Program a year before I had been accepted into university. Whilst researching scholarships, coming across this development program truly excited me because we have been raised as individuals who have not had enough experience when it comes to active learning; we have been taught to be passive individuals just taking in information and unable to turn our knowledge into practical experiences. When I delved deeper into the Personal Development Program, I realised that this program would help put aside these ‘deficiencies’; it would put the individual at their own life and help them gain life skills through changing mindful perspectives.

I believed that the Personal Development Program would allow me to be how I wanted to be; open-minded, foresighted, able to share my thoughts without fear, social, entrepreneurial. What’s more I thought that this program would allow us to develop into equipped individuals ready for personal and work life—it seemed like a program presented to us on a golden plate.

3. How much did the TIKAV Personal Development Program meet your expectations?

feel that due to the Personal Development Program, I’m someone who can now look to the future with more trust, I have more goals, and am ready to develop further. I am not where I want to be now; but, I have learned how to find the road to reach my goals. It has met my expectations and more. My greatest gain is that I am now a part of the TIKAV family.

4. If you had never crossed paths with TIKAV, what would be different in your life?

I would not have developed my societal awareness this much; I would not have been able to get to know myself, find out about my true potential, make the life-long friends I have made on this journey, go abroad, or learn English. I would have run after small dreams in my tunnel-visioned tiny world. If an arrow is shot without awareness, it’ll scatter aimlessly about. I would have accepted that in front of me, aimless, without thinking about the next step and living from coincidence to coincidence.

5. Can you please share your best (and most fun) memory that you’ve had with TIKAV?

I have a lot of memories of having fun whilst learning thanks to TIKAV. Being able to paint, clean and decorate the Eskişehir Mahmudiye County Mahmudiye Primary School building and hand it over to those who need, our smaller brothers and sisters, allowed us to experience the feelings of sorrow, joy hope and excitement all at the same time. It was a proud moment for us to hand the restored school over to the true owners and tell them “You are not alone; there are people thinking about you”.

During the 2009 Summer Program we had a lot of enjoyable moments during our trips, training sessions as well as many enticing conversations. However, the highlight of this program was being able to prepare an extraordinary theatre production for those invited to the certificate ceremony. The preparations and the slideshow presented before our performance made us laugh, we had a lot of dun. Hearing the laughter of the audience members during our performance also made us happy.

Another unforgettable memory was during the Eskişehir Frig Valley Camp. We spent four days at one with nature; we learnt to be patient, be a team, to share, to live in nature and adapt according to changing conditions. We spent four fulfilling days and nights with bugs, with tents, with sun and mud. During those four days, people who had never cooked before, learned to make meals.

6. Can you share an anecdote with us regarding a moment that a huge impact on you during your time with TIKAV?

The year I was accepted to be a TIKAV scholar, a Garden Party was organised for us at the Ankara American Embassy; the mesmerising atmosphere had a huge impact on me. It was the first time I’d evet been in such an environment and I was a little shy, I held back a little. But I never felt this feeling again. No other environment every scared me again.

7. What was the most productive workshop you took part in within the scope of the Personal Development Program? In what ways did you benefit?

I think one of the best workshops we attended was the “EU Projects” training which opened the doors in my mind to opportunities in other countries. The “Practical Research and Interview Techniques” training truly helped me in my academic life. Other than that, the “Speaking in Public” and “Communication” seminars were also incredibly useful.

8. What makes being a TIKAV’ian different from friends in your environment?

I think that the difference is as big as going somewhere by foot or going there by car. I’m able to approach events in an objective manner, I can express myself comfortably, I can see my future and I know how to use time. I think this helps me stand out.

9. Can you please share an anecdote from a moment during the Volunteering Activities that you took part in?

One day, one of my students that I was explaining science too at the Vali Osman Aydın Youth Centre, came to me and said “Teacher, I’d like to talk to you about my future.” With a smile I said “Of course” and we started walking together. “I’m not sure which career will make me happy in the future. But when I look at you, I see the you’re incredibly happy and I believe you’ll succeed in your career. You do it with such sincerity, I almost envy you because of my admiration towards you… Can someone truly be happy from everything they do?” they asked. They then said: “I also want to be a construction engineer. I’m going to be someone like you in the future”. (Murat Erdem)
When we first started volunteering, we had gone to an old people’s home. I saw how lonely people were there. They wanted to share something with us; having someone listen to them had made them incredibly happy. This in turn made me happy for having gone there to spend time with them (Abdurrazak Doğan)

Whilst volunteering at the Vali Osman Aydın Youth Centre we were helping donate clothes to children in need. One kid walked into the room with torn shoes. The attendant in charge turned around and said to the child “Kid, what’s happened to your shoes? How have they gotten so old so quickly”. The child replied “I walk to school everyday, and it’s very far away, this is why it gets worn-down quickly”. The attendant then said “We’ll give you one more pair this season, but you won’t be able to get another pair this season.”

The child then asked “Would it be possible if you gave my mother shoes instead of me?” The minute he asked this, I realised the importance of the work we were doing. I managed to convince the attendant to give the child two shoes (Ramazan Adıyaman)

At the Vali Osman Aydın Youth Centre, being able to observe the students preparing for SBS and giving them classes…It’s like watching a sapling come out of the soil. Becoming the ‘sister’ of those children who I might not have been able to meet if it were not for TIKAV. (Nalan Sav)

10. What were some of the things you gained from your experience abroad with TIKAV?

Thanks to TIKAV I got to experience some things a lot earlier than I could have imagined; I feel incredibly lucky to have been bewildered by these experiences. I was able to adapt to a different culture, different languages and different people easily. Because I had realised, again due to a training session TIKAV gad given us, that our differences are our riches. If I treated others as if they were not one of us, I would be marginalising or ‘OTHERISING’ them. I was able to experience that which I learnt in that training abroad. At first, foreign countries seemed scary and distant; not they are places I can go to with courage. I further realised that I should develop my English language skills further.

11. In your eyes, what was the most important (special) panel that TIKAV has organised with experts in their fields?

Can you explain why it has impacted you? Sincere conversations with successful business people Hamdi Akın, Ali Sabancı, and Vuslat Sabancı were very informative and interesting. In addition, the discussions on Atatürk with Can Dündar were also incredibly meaningful.

12. How has The International Award for Young People changed your life?

For me, The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award has allowed me to carry out several different activities in different disciplines all at the same time. It has allowed me to gain an International recognized certificate—but more importantly has allowed me to gain awareness about volunteerism, helping society, develop myself through physical activities, and learn new skills such as a new language.

13. How have the gains you have made because of TIKAV impacted those around you?

Those in my environment are aware of the changes in me; my reputation or dignity has increased in their eyes. I was able to gain the trust of my family due to my attitude, behaviour and decisions. They were able to admire and appreciate me for all my hard work and successful endeavours. My empathy skills for my family, friends and strangers grew. My awareness regarding the concept of helping others grow. I share more now, and it makes me happy. I share the trainings I received from TIKAV with my friend ands sometimes advise them in ways that I hope will benefit them.

14. What has TIKAV changed with your goals?

What hasn’t it changed! I freed myself a singular point of view and started seeing the whole. My small goals started growing. I learned to share and realised that things only grow when they are indeed shared. I not only want to succeed for myself but for others and their sakes as well.

15. What do you think it means to be a TIKAV’ian?

It means to walk towards a beam of light at the end of a dark tunnel, reach the light, and spread the light to those around you; it is being privileged.