I still remember, it was the late September of 2015 when I went to Istanbul to accommodate for a couple of days during my flight from Santorini to London. I got lost when I was trying to find my hotel that was 500 meter close to Sultanahmet Mosque. While I was carrying my luggage with a confused and tired face, a warm and friendly voice greeted me from the door of a small shop. A stranger told me, “Are you lost? What are you looking for?” Then helped me to find the hotel and wished me a nice trip. On top of the beauty of Istanbul, because of this warm voice that I experienced, I promised myself that one day, I would go to Turkey.
15 July 2016 was a historic day both for me and for Turkey. When I was celebrating my graduation day with my friends and family in the United Kingdom, Turkey was facing with a military coup attempt which was defeated by millions of Turks who went out to streets to defend their country. Based on this incident, I started to read more about Turkish politics. Then, I started to follow Facebook and Twitter accounts about Turkey. This intensified my interest on Turkey as time passed by. However, people sometimes send me things in Turkish and I have to use Google translate to understand.
I somehow saw the Turkish Summer School on twitter/ facebook accounts. I certainly knew that would be amazing and worth trying. It was like hitting two birds with one stone. I could both discover the beauty of Turkey that I always dreamed of and learn Turkish.
I opened my eyes to see Turkey truly with a different perspective during the four weeks that I stayed for the Summer School.
Although I knew that people would be warm and friendly, when I saw the way they welcomed and complimented people, I started to respect more. Despite some language problems, they did everything to help us and to make sure that we were comfortable and happy where we stayed. They showed courtesy to us so much that I was not shown in any other countries that I have been before.
I was welcomed very well, and personally, I felt like I was in my country without feeling the absence of anything. This was an amazing experience for me to discover the things like getting to know Turkey totally with its food and culture, understanding its administration and export goods, learning its language and history, knowing its traditions like wedding ceremonies. Words cannot suffice to describe how much lucky I am for finding the opportunity to attend the Summer School. It was a prestigious and first class summer school and most of the participants would agree with me on this.
Spending almost a month there taught me indirectly that there are some important values in this life. Staying calm all the time, respecting cultural differences and appreciate!.. I noticed that Turks shows a deep respect towards their elders and they are always polite when they speak. I think, I grew up personally more, after attending this program. If I have an offer or chance to stay longer in Turkey, I will say yes, and pack my bag immediately. It doesn’t matter which nationality you belong to, everybody will fit in Turkey perfectly. I believe that everybody who comes to Turkey would say Turkey is a place where you feel home.