Doing my Erasmus+ in Sakarya, Turkey
“I am sorry and disappointed that this country has this great potential, but for some reasons, it doesn’t seem to be developing that much.”
As we already know, every human being has the right to learn and to benefit from different resources of education, for it is one of the most accurate way of leading and pushing the human race forward to areas of equality, equity and harmony.
Having in consideration different ways of educating, teaching and learning, and the many attempts to improve its overall quality, we can say that the Erasmus+ Programme is one of the ways to get by!
Living and studying in a small country and having its citizenship but belonging to another ethnicity has posed me to different challenges throughout my education and life, that’s why me, Mirlind Murati, as a 23 years old student from Macedonia decided to step out of my comfort zone and try new educational and social adventures in Turkey.
Being an ‘alumnus’ of Erasmus, especially going to Turkey to commit such an experience for a couple of months, it has undoubtedly exposed me to new ideas, mindsets, opinions and a large range of how people get things done, even the routine ones. Arriving in Turkey and spending the first week was very challenging, because I was facing a new approach of life and living. It being my first exchange and the very first time being away from my family and having to do everything all by myself was pretty confusing and hard for me, especially during the first days. But in the end, those are what make us grow, experienced and wise.
During my first weeks in Sakarya, Turkey, I noticed that my expectations weren’t compatible with the current state of the city and Erasmus in it. For instance, what really got me influenced, was the level of foreign languages all around Turkey, although we should exclude the historic places and some of the biggest cities and their urban areas. But living in a place where English Language was barely spoken even by students, was pretty tough, mostly when you also do not know their language (at all). The city itself was not that amusing, but the campus was huge, crowded and indeed beautiful, that being said, it was my favorite place in the whole city. Fortunately, I didn’t have much trouble finding accommodation, which served me throughout my entire journey, while sharing the room and also the flat with two Turkish students, who have been helpful during my mobility there, and also, who were the ones I practiced my Turkish Language skills and improved myself linguistically. It was a matter of a nick of time for me to develop ties with my new friends, all over the world, but mostly Europe. We became close immediately, which maybe wasn’t the best idea ever, because now I have to endure a lot, missing and craving for each and every one of them. We were sharing all among ourselves, be it help, financial support, clothes, food, advices and more. Looking back, I am really surprised as to how many friends I had the opportunity to make during my stay there, and how welcome they were. Whereas, talking about my Turkish friends, I have nothing but respect, admiration and a great will and wish to get to see them again in a near future. Turkish families and their hospitality are another story.
Maybe I am influenced by me leaving the country for being so positive for everything that happened, but it’s a bare truth that most of what happened there was positive. As per negative situations, I encountered quite some jealousy and envious people for not valid reasons, but I guess it depends on personal character and way of them growing up, but at some points it was boldly highlighted.
Coming from a nearby country and sharing almost same culture, food and a very similar language, I did not experience any cultural shock, as it was very friendly to me, all of what happened, but still, I am strongly against the fact that being in a country, does not make you obligated to be fluent in their language and act/live/behave like they do. Exploring their culture and language was my satisfaction, but it was balanced until the point where I wanted to stop and what I actually wanted to learn and discover. This would be my most underlined setback I unfortunately suffered during my exchange experience in this country.
It’s indeed hard to determine a countable amount which is small, of what you like about Turkey as a country, and with respect to the limits, I may extend over them, by saying that Turkey serves some mesmerizing landscapes and historical places that everyone should get the chance to witness them live! Moreover, Turkish cuisine is divine, wide and delicious. People generally are helpful, friendly and hardworking. I am also impressed by transportation in Turkey, avoiding the huge traffic in Istanbul, but other than that, I am fully pleased to have spent months within Turkish borders and I’m looking forward to returning back there.
On the other side, I am sorry and disappointed that this country has this great potential, but for some reasons, it doesn’t seem to be developing that much. What I noticed at young people mostly, is that the amount of hard work they put in their studies and work, covers the fact that they lack vision in life. Always staying away from generalizing it, I’ve encountered many students, talented and skilled young people who do not know what to do with their professional lives in the future.
Closed minded people who think Turkey is what the whole world is about are also numerous. I am also influenced by how several/lots of youngsters refuse to even learn another language, because Turkish language is enough for them and they won’t need another back up one for the places and times they will NEVER spent outside Turkey, if there was anything else to see outside this country.
I am not covering everything on this article, maybe I am forgetting several issues to be discussed, or maybe I’m being limited by the fact that I have freshly left the country and I miss it, but according to my viewpoint for the months I spent in Turkey as an Erasmus student, this would be my rundown of my personal insight of what and how Turkey and everything inside it, is and works.
Last but definitely not least; Ben, Türkiye’yi seviyorum!
Mirlind Murati (23)