Get to know our ESC Volunteers - Gokce S.

The European Solidarity Corps (often shortened to ESC) supports young people aged 18-30 to be full-time volunteers in many foreign countries. Thanks to Erasmus+ funding, Galway Community Circus has been hosting ESC volunteers since 2013. Learn about the ESC experience with GCC and get to know one of this year's ESC volunteers in this interview with Gokce S. from Turkiye.

Where are you from?

I’m from the city of Istanbul in Turkiye.

What is your training or background in circus or the arts?

My last 10 years have been spent in the theatre and I've always worked in theatre and drama. I graduated from the Department of Theater Criticism and Dramaturgy from Istanbul University. I was writing critiques of the theatre plays I watched for magazines and newspapers. I took part in various theatres as a dramaturg and co-director. I composed texts for street theatre and performed in various places in Turkiye. Then I started working in schools as a drama teacher and at that time I started a second school. I received physical theatre training. I also wrote a theatre play for the "Young Theatre Playwrights" project in Germany during the pandemic and my play was selected. Now I am here!

What made you want to volunteer at Galway Community Circus?

I have always found the coexistence of different disciplines very interesting. Theatre and circus are similar. They are both near and far from each other. I have not had the experience of working in circus before, and I wanted to be here because I wanted to experience it and work in the field of circus dramaturgy.

Who is your sending organisation? Tell us about them.

My sending organisation is Cagdas Yasami Destekleme Dernegi (CYDD).

CYDD is the Association for Supporting Contemporary Life, which aims to reach modern people and modern society through modern education. It is a voluntary non-governmental organization with knowledge, skills and experience for the country's ideal purpose of “raising above the level of contemporary civilization”.

What do you love about working with Galway Community Circus?

I love everything! In every class, every participant has a different energy. I learn something new about the circus every day here, and that makes me happy.

What project(s) are you working on at the Circus and what results (of those projects) do you hope to achieve?

As an assistant tutor in circus classes, I am actually learning new things along with the kids. At the end of this year's classes, we are thinking of preparing a show. I want to do the show with both the students and the tutors, as the tutors are very talented artists.

What do you love about Ireland?

I love the nature here, and the calmness of Galway. It is a small place, but it has a beauty that one will never forget. And I am very happy to collect memories here.

What are a few important things you have learned (or are learning) while volunteering with GCC?

Circus studies are at the forefront of the things I am learning while volunteering here. How the system works, what is done, etc. I love the coexistence of different cultures – it offers access to many different types of people. Something I have learned here is that if you are not open to change, I think you will be unhappy.

What is one thing you love about circus in general?

The people here are open to sharing and helping. And I love the potential to try new things.

Why do you think a programme like European Solidarity Corps is important?

I would like to answer this question by quoting Ursula K. Le Guin, a writer I love:

“There is a moment around the age of twenty when you have to choose to be like everyone else for the rest of your life or turn your differences into virtues.”

Would you recommend that other people apply to volunteer at organisations through the ESC programme? Why?

Yes. Of course! For new experiences. And If you don't run, you can't run.

I think everyone needs to get out of their comfort zone. Taking action, learning new things, living in different cultures, and even living with different people changes us. And that's great for ourselves and for the world.

You can learn more about the European Solidarity Corps here or visit the European Solidarity Corps page on our website for more information.