This week I was asked to prepare a newspaper interview as an international student in Turkey. The link to the article is located at the bottom. Here are the questions and how I responded to them!
1. What country are you from?
I am from Columbus, Ohio, America.
2. Advantages/Disadvantages of being a student in Turkey?
Studying at Yasar University has been a blessing to say the least. The staff is very helpful, nice, and willing to help you with your future as an adult. The class sizes are small with many students that are willing to bridge the language barrier. The education system is different. You attend classes and are tested twice: midterms and final exams. Rarely do I see homework, projects, or presentations, which in America helps supplement your grade. While I understand this may be a European style, it puts more stress during exam time. Studying at Yasar University has helped bring additional perspectives to my learning, forcing me to look outside the box and try new thinking methods and business techniques. It is much cheaper to study in Turkey than in America; however in america it is easier to select any department and change departments as you wish. After travelling to other universities that I could have studied at, I can happily and proudly say that I made a good choice in choosing Yasar University, there is something special that can't be described unless you experience it.
3. How you imagined Turkey before you came here, how it matched with reality?
To be honest, most of Americans have not been abroad, nor are surrounded by the vast majority of countries like that of Europe. As a whole I could say we also tend to focus on national news rather than international news. I imagined Turkey much more conservative, with a quiet attitude. I imagined much more repression, but still developed. With its geographical location I wondered whether it would have a more western or middle eastern style. How I can now describe Turkey is that it is a country full of pride, outspokenness, diversity, and warm people; like a sister country to America.
4. What sort of difficulties have you encountered?
The language barrier between English and Turkish has been my only major difficulty. While at Yasar University, however, I have made it a point to surround myself with Turkish friends to slowly but certainly learn. The students at Yasar University and general society have really been receptive and helpful; I have made many lifelong friendships in Turkey. Another main difficulty has been keeping in contact with my family and friends back in America. There is a 7 hour time difference which speaks for itself. The internet has been a major help to prevent any disconnections.
5. What would you put for a list of what you loved most about Turkey?
If being around the sea and one of the best sunsets in the world isn’t enough, there are plenty more reasons. I can go to the barber for an hour and be treated like a prince for only 10TL. One is always greeted with a smile, kiss on the cheek, and possibly a plate of food; meaning the countries hospitality is like none that I have ever seen. Even strangers treat you like family in Turkey. The bazaar offers many food items, clothing, and odds and ends for a great price. There is never a boundary while travelling in Turkey. The public transportation can be late sometimes, but I can travel as far as from Mavisehir to Alsancak for less than 2TL or from Izmir to Marmaris for 30TL; these are great as a foreigner, there is no need for a car in Turkey. The living style is very modern, staying up to date with the most recent fashion and technology. Turkey also has such a great presence of culture and history that makes it intriguing. I also love Turkish music, with just a few of my favorites being Hadise, Gulsen, Sila, Athena, Sertab Erener, and Sebnem Ferah.
6. Compared with your country what sort of differences would you list?
America is more organized and structured. The food in Turkey is fresh, always prepared, and not filled with chemicals or hormones. The Turkish family will offer you more food than you can imagine, but you can still stay very healthy here. Electronics are much more expensive in Turkey but travelling and getting around the cities is much cheaper and available. The café scene filled with conversation, tavla, and Turkish coffee is much more present in Turkey than in America. It is typical for an American student to work while studying starting in their teens, but in Turkey most students rely on their families to support them. Americans are typically knowledgeable in their own politics and society; however Turks are more aware of the world’s geography and politics. I have really enjoyed learning the differences; it has helped influence my love and respect for Turkey!
**The link to my article as is appears in the newspaper**