7th Katakolon Port Festival: Upcycling & Ecotourism through the eyes of 4 Erasmus Interns

“The world’s resources are limited, but we are living as if they weren’t. Our economic system is based on taking precious resources from the natural environment, creating products with a built-in life-span and throwing them away to then buy new ones. This crazy system means that it now takes the Earth 18 months to replenish the resources humanity consumes in a year, and this time is increasing!”

Strarting with this conclusion, the Erasmus Interns F. Batuhan Okumuş, Eren Zülüfdar, Sümeyra Aldemir and Büşra Ülkü, participated to the 7th Katakolon Port Festival held from 29 to 31 July, representing their host organization “Dione” local development centre established at Ancient Olympia.

The core message of the first group’s presentation, created by Batuhan and Eren, was: “Before you throw anything away, really think about it!”

For example, if you’ve finished burning a candle that comes in a big glass jar, don’t waste it. Instead, drain out the leftover wax and use it as storage. This is called “upcycling.”

Upcycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value.  And it’s not just for people who love arts and crafts.

Although it is a way of recycling creatively, upcycling is turning items that would otherwise be unused into functional and useful things. Upcycling can produce striking decorative items, or items that are merely practical, such as an upturned plastic bottle used to irrigate a plant pot while someone is away on holiday.

Batuhan and Eren presented upcycling as part of Circular Economy, as an economic system aimed at minimizing waste and making the most of resources.

The Erasmus Interns F. Batuhan Okumuş and Eren Zülüfdar made smart constructions by spare materials, such as old tree branches and other wooden pieces, proving that items get used again rather than being treated as waste!

The second team consisted of Sümeyra Aldemir and Büşra Ülkü, focused on the principles of Ecotourism, defining it as “Responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education”. Education is meant to be inclusive of both staff and guests.

Ecotourism is about uniting conservation, communities, and sustainable travel. This means that those who implement, participate in and market ecotourism activities should adopt the following ecotourism principles:

  • Minimize physical, social, behavioral, and psychological impacts.
  • Build environmental and cultural awareness and respect.
  • Provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts.
  • Provide direct financial benefits for conservation
  • Generate financial benefits for both local people and private industry.
  • Deliver memorable interpretative experiences to visitors that help raise sensitivity to host countries’ political, environmental, and social climates.
  • Design, construct and operate low-impact facilities.
  • Recognize the rights and spiritual beliefs of the Indigenous People in your community and work in partnership with them to create empowerment.

Being inspired by the newly established social enterprise GEECO (Green Eyes Of Ecology) in Kent, UK, the aim of which is to advance ecological advocacy through producing theatrical scholar ecoscripts, Sümeyra and Büşra presented also Ecotourism vs Tourism through combining different places around the world.

Who is who

  1. Batuhan Okumuş

I live in İstanbul, Turkey. I studied at Kadir Has University for 5 years and I recently graduated from Electrical and Electronics Engineering department. I know some programming languages in a basic way such as, python, C and MatLab. I attended signals and communication courses and know how to use signals for communication. I created a graduation project which includes NOMA (Non-orthogonal multiple access). I am one of the founders of the Gaming Club in my school. I like to be sociable and to meet new people. I am an engineer now while continuing with my master degree. My first goal in life is to make an invention that can change our lives. I want to be a good person before being a good engineer. Also, my dream is to work abroad and have a peaceful family.


İnstagram: /bthnokms

Phone number / whatsapp: +90 538 456 12 25

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/batuhanokumus/

Eren Zülüfdar

I am Eren Zülüfdar and study Business Administration in Eskişehir, Turkey.

I use 3D CAD to design living areas, furniture and environmental solutions. My dream is to contribute in making a more sustainable world and promote circular economy.



Büşra Ülkü

My name is Büşra and I live in Istanbul. I have graduated from BEng, Computer Engineering, Kadir Has University this year. I am also studying Industrial Engineering as a double major and I am going to graduate from Industrial Engineering in 2020. I want to do a Master Degree in Analytics and Management in London Business School.

I am a friendly, open-minded person who cares to explore new things and develop myself continuously. It is also very important for me to meet new people, to discover new places, and to improve myself in a social environment. For these reasons, I attended Erasmus Exchange Program at Coventry University in United Kingdom in 2018 Spring. It was a great experience for me both social and academic aspects. I decided to attend Erasmus Internship Programme to discover new adventures and gaining more experience, so I have chosen to do my internship in Greece.


Büşra ÜLKÜ

Industrial Engineering & Computer Engineering

+90 538 510 36 02



Sümeyra Aldemir

My name is Sümeyra Aldemir. I was born at Karabük/Turkey in 4th of january 1996. I graduated from Mehmet Vergili Science High School. Then, I’ve recently graduated from department of electrical and electronics engineering in Kadir Has University in Istanbul with honors as a first degree. I will continue to my study with master in Kadir Has University with a full scholarship.

I was intern at field of electrical engineering in Karabuk Kardemir  Factory which is the 34th biggest company in Turkey . During my sophomore year, I was an exchange student in Korea Kangwon National University for one semester. I was also intern at Aselsan which is a Turkish corporation that produces tactical military radios and defense electronic systems for the Turkish Armed Forces. And now, I am an intern in “Dione” Local Development Centre in Greece.

My interests are playing ukulele, ecology, healthy life style, watching films and series. I am always interested in meeting with different people and cultures. That is why my biggest passion is backpacking the world. I have been so far in Korea, Japan, Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, Netherlands, Belgium and Greece.



+90 535 883 85 90