Job shadowing

Participation in such a trip is a valuable experience…

As part of the “Next level” project, aimed at increasing the abilities of the LEVEL UP team and thus at the development of the organization, I participated in an exchange in Turkey in the form of job shadowing. The aim was to learn about what is done in Turkey for inclusion of people with disabilities (mental and physical) in some activities – in the organization and as a team, as well as for including people with fewer opportunities.

The organization that hosted us offered a rich program, thanks to which we – as participants of the job shadowing, got to know a total of 7 organizations and learnt how they work. We could also talk directly to the directors and the managers of the institutions.

Job shadowing took place in the city of Düzce, which has less than 60 thousand inhabitants. Taking into account the number of inhabitants and the number of institutions supporting people with disabilities and with fewer chances, what I saw made a great impression on me! Thanks to this exchange and getting to know the institutions, I saw how the system supporting people with disabilities can actually work, when the potential of these people is realized and their strengths as well as social competences are built. An important part of the visit was the primary and secondary schools, which provide vocational education and teach practical skills.

I was very impressed by a restaurant where people with disabilities, who graduated from these schools, find employment. Seeing them work confirmed that what we do as educators really matters and inspired us to carry on!

The visit to Turkey was an invaluable time for me, full of emotions and self-awareness in the perception of disability. At the same time, it inspired LEVEL UP to take better and more efficient actions that give a chance for development regardless of the type of disability.

Participation in such a trip is a valuable experience, both from the point of view of a person who could introduce changes in the organization and adapt the possibilities of inclusion of people with disabilities, as well as from the personal point of view. I think that in order to increase one’s own empathy and understanding of differences – such a trip is priceless.

Monika, 30 years old, job shadowing as part of the “Next level” project

I can even say that this experience made it easier for me to make a decision concerning my professional development…

This trip undoubtedly broadened my skills, which I will certainly benefit from in my further career.

It was very instructive to see the kind of care and support that can be given to people with special needs and their families. With each new visit I was inspired to help people. I can even say that this experience made it easier for me to make a decision concerning my professional development. 

Turkey is an extraordinary and beautiful country with a rich culture. We experienced sincere hospitality from local people all the time. Food delights, and Turkish tea warms the heart. Thanks to the help of our hostess, even the language barrier wasn’t a problem that we couldn’t overcome. 

I can summarize the whole project in one word: Teşekkürler. 

I think that reading this report and seeing photos from public schools in Turkey could encourage you to go on an exchange to Turkey. With such a comfortable working environment, specialists can fully support the development of their students. I recommend it with all my heart!

Natalia, 22 years old, job shadowing as part of the “Next level” project

What was a big surprise for me was what the system of schools for people with disabilities looks like in Turkey…

This trip was extremely educational for me – firstly, I learned a lot, and secondly, I understood that at many stages of my education I gained knowledge that was extremely useful to me. 

Immediately after this enigmatic introduction, I can say that Turkey is an extremely patriotic country whose politics and culture are extremely different from the European ones. I’ve never had so many verbal duels before. 😉

What surprised me? Well… Probably was surprised me the most was the quality of schools for people with disabilities, which was really good! I am still impressed by the activities of local institutions that deal with the education of people with autism, Asperger’s syndrome, Down’s syndrome or childhood cerebral palsy. What was a big surprise for me was what the system of schools for people with disabilities looks like in Turkey. Students receive vocational education, which is verified by the job market (students are offered jobs in which there’s a lack of employees and for which they are talented). In this way, people with disabilities receive not only sympathy, but also useful vocational education. Learning in these institutions prepares students to work as a waiter, cook, carpenter, mechanic, builder, seamstress or craftsman (ceramic products, fashionable gifts from Turkey – magnets, mugs, bags, etc.).

Apart from all the knowledge, I highly recommend participation in job shadowing – it is extremely educational. 

In addition, I recommend a trip to Turkey. What is great there is the food. There is a lot of it, it is cheap, there is meat – what more do you want?

I was surprised by the tea and the habit of drinking it absolutely always, because Turkish coffee leaves a lot to be desired… It’s very thick and strong and too sweet. Drinking it was a real nuisance. 

Finally, I would like to add that I left, as always, with wonderful people – I could laugh with them, talk with them, I felt they listened to me, and I even experienced the ritual of Hammam for the first time.

Kamila, 26 years old, job shadowing as part of the “Next level” project