Life in Turkey

The following post is written by Grace Burris, 2014 Summer Turkish Overseas Flagship student on her experience in Turkey so far.

imageAfter meeting my host family, my host mom made it very clear that this is my home and to treat it like my home. We live in a small apartment about two and a half miles from my school. I have my own room and bathroom. My parents and host brother all work, so we eat breakfast separately during the week, but on the weekends we make a big Turkish brunch. My family eats dinner pretty late, anywhere from 8:00-10:00 pm. If I am home, I usually help my host dad make what he calls “Kaan Babası Salat” which is Papa Kaan’s salad. After getting to Turkey, it took about a week to adjust to Turkish food. It has a lot more oil (olive oil) than what I am used to, but now, I find myself craving Papa Kaan’s Salad and other dishes my host mom makes often.  

image-1I really enjoy the experience of living with a host family. It’s nice to be able to chat with my host parents or ask a question from my homework. I come from a big family, so I really enjoy the company while I’m home. I even taught my family how to play Spoons and they love it! Since the World Cup has been going on, I have been watching the games (in Turkish) with my family and have been picking up Turkish soccer lingo. One of the things I most excited about is going to Bodrum with my family. They generously invited me along to go to their vacation home. I can’t wait to take a couple days off and relax at the beach.”




The Japanese American Experience

The first part of this year’s TOMODACHI U.S.-Japan Youth Exchange Program recently concluded with a successful exchange in Washington, D.C. In November, students will travel to Japan for the reciprocal visit. Check out this post written by Gabby Towson from School Without Walls High School on her experience on the program.  IMG_1661-1024x496 Throughout this program we have learned a lot about Japanese American relations throughout the last 20 years. Today we were able to gain a more personal understanding of this relationship and how it has changed. The day began by listening to a panel of Japanese Americans who lived in the United States throughout the tumultuous time in our history, World War II. World War II was a difficult time for most Americans seeing as many were drafted and sent off to fight in far away countries in Europe. However it was especially difficult for Japanese Americans because many were forced into internment camps by the U.S. Government thanks to the mass hysteria created by Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor. Mary, one of the 120,000 who were forced into these camps, stated that being pushed into these camps felt like she was literally being disowned by her government. This resonated with me because the idea that one day you could go from being a regular everyday American to being seen as an alien in the nation you were born in is frightening and sad to me. Read more

image001TOMODACHI U.S.-Japan Youth Exchange Program provides Japanese and American high school students with a comparative understanding of the political, social, and cultural life in Japan and the U.S. Through visits, lectures, and workshops, students experience civic engagement, are involved in social entrepreneurship projects, and dive into the host country’s culture.


Turkish Overseas Flagship Alumnus Interns at 17th Annual International Women’s Film Festival

The following post is written by Andrew Lockdall, Turkish Overseas Flagship alumnus. 

In May 2014, Turkish Flagship alumnus, Andrew Lockdall assisted in preparations for the 17th annual International Women’s Film Festival at his internship in Ankara. Andrew was kind enough to write a short article about his experience interning at the Flying Broom, an organization that aims to provide information and training to empower women, and contribute to the development of efficient policies for solving women’s problems

Here is his story:

Interning at Flying Broom was undoubtedly a rewarding experience. The work I performed ranged from assembling nametags and sorting posters, to compiling lists of sponsors, and writing film summaries for the film festival.  Working with a team of dedicated, talented, and sincere individuals, while addressing critical issues such as early marriages, domestic violence, and gender inequality in general was not only a great way to improve my Turkish, but also my overall character.

Flying Broom is perhaps best known for its annual International Women’s Film Festival, which is currently in its 17th running.  I feel very lucky to have been a part of its preparation, as it is truly an impressive event, which features ore than 100 woman-directed films from 42 countries.

The Turkish Flagship Program is designed as an innovative overseas language program for students in all fields of study. The academic-year program at Ankara University/TÖMER consists of daily Flagship lectures, individual language partner tutorials, guest seminars, and direct enrollment courses at Ankara University/TÖMER in the students’ fields of specialization.

Turkish Overseas Flagship Alumna Participates in 28th Annual National Linguistics Conference

The following post is written by Victoria Rust, Turkish Overseas Flagship alumna. 

IMG_0056In May 2014, Turkish Flagship alumna, Victoria Rust, attended Turkey’s 28th National Linguistics Conference.Victoria was generous enough to write a short article about her experience at the conference. Here is her story:

On May 8 and 9, I had the privilege of attending Turkey’s 28th National Linguistics Conference, held at the Sakarya University Culture and Congress Center.  The conference provided an opportunity for the linguistics scholars, professionals, and students of Turkey to connect in person and share research findings, discuss academic interests, and learn about current issues in the field of linguistics.

IMG_0135Because it was the National Linguistics Conference of Turkey, all organized sessions, posters, forums, panel discussions and roundtables were conducted in Turkish.  As a result, I was able to use my Turkish to not only learn, but also discuss with presenters and fellow attendees about a wide array of topics ranging from endangered Turkic languages, to linguistic analysis of slogans used at the Gezi Park demonstrations in Istanbul.

I first learned about the conference during my internship at the Ankara University Linguistics Department, a component of the Turkish Overseas Flagship Program. Being a Flagship student, I have been afforded opportunities such as this conference.  By attending, I was able to make valuable connections, which help to further my professional career goals as a linguist.

The Turkish Flagship Program is designed as an innovative overseas language program for students in all fields of study. The academic-year program at Ankara University/TÖMER consists of daily Flagship lectures, individual language partner tutorials, guest seminars, and direct enrollment courses at Ankara University/TÖMER in the students’ fields of specialization.


FLEX Alumni Promote Eco-Awareness with Coastal Clean-Up in Sevastopol

FLEX Alumni Promote Eco-Awareness with Coastal Clean-Up in SevastopolOcean trash is a serious pollution problem that affects the health of people, wildlife, and local economies. With coastal areas facing the double threat of climate change and environmental degradation, FLEX alumna Svitlana Buko ’97 organized a project using a FLEX Global Youth Service Day grant to promote ecological awareness among the coastal population of Sevastopol, Ukraine. The project also aimed to connect ecology researchers, kayakers, and volunteers to the general population.

On April 12, Svitlana recruited 37 volunteers for a daylong coast cleanup that included representatives from local nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, marine research institutions, water sport organizations, local businesses, and seven FLEX alumni. Show their support and concern for Ukraine’s waterways, the volunteers took part in a variety of nature-friendly activities including dolphin watching, trash collecting along the beach, kayaking, and hiking. Participants also took part in two workshops on ecotourism and dolphin protection.

Sevastopol, Ukraine - Balaklava, Dolphin Watch

FLEX alumna and Simferopol resident Tetyana Timofeenko attended the dolphin protection workshop. “I learned a lot about dolphins and their habits and lifestyles. It was very useful to learn about how to help a dolphin in a critical situation. The lecture was very interesting with great information about Crimean beaches, and the ways in which they are preserved,” Tetyana said.

Click here to learn more about the FLEX program.