Can you please introduce yourself briefly?
My name is Greta. I am a student from Lithuania. I study biotechnology in Vytautas Magnus University. I grew up near the small town called Biržai. Since my childhood, I was interested in many different things. I tried to learn to play guitar, acting, doing crafts, drawing, boxing. One thing that I couldn’t do was traveling, because I was too young. My parents sometimes took me to Norway, but I didn’t have a chance to communicate with people who are my age. After graduating from my school, I planned to study abroad, but in the end, I changed my mind and stayed in Lithuania. But this idea of studying in another country was always in my mind as I wanted to meet new cultures, people from all over the world and learn something new.
When my friend told me that she is applying for Erasmus, it didn’t take long for me to decide if I want to do it too. I filled my application and got in! I was excited.
How long have you stayed in Turkey?
I stayed in Turkey for 5 months. I was there for an autumn-semester of 2016.
Where do you live in Antalya?
I lived in Antalya and I studied in Akdeniz University.
Tell us why you prefer to attend Erasmus in Turkey?
I wanted to go to Turkey mostly because it was different and I didn’t know a lot about this country. These were the main reasons. Also, there were a few more students from my faculty who went to the same University so me and my friend thought that we should choose this one too.
What about your thoughts before coming to Turkey?
Before coming to Turkey, I was curious and excited but in the same time I was worried about going so far from home.
Did you undergo culture shock in Turkey?
At first there were a few things that were not familiar to me. But I found every difference very interesting. Only weather was a little difficult to handle at first. Even though it was an autumn when I came to Antalya, the temperature was high. I couldn’t eat normal food for a few days and always felt thirsty.
How was your first week in Turkey and in the university?
I guess my first week was the most difficult as I didn’t know the place, didn’t understand Turkish language and just didn’t know enough about this country.
The first day, when me and my friend arrived we took a taxi from the airport and showed our address. The taxi driver couldn’t speak English and he got lost in the area where our flat should be located. He asked other people to show it, but we were going in circles. After some time, he finally found it, but we were a little scared.
Of course, as we didn’t know our area so good, we have been a little lost sometimes or took the longest ways instead of short ones. But I consider this a good thing, because that’s how we found new paths or places.
To find our coordinator and teachers was also a huge challenge as our campus was big and we had lectures in different faculties.
This week was a little difficult but I was happy being in a new place and meeting so many friendly people.
What do you think about education facilities at your university?
Akdeniz University has 18 Faculties, 7 Institutes, 5 Schools, 11 Vocational Schools, 43 Research and Application Centers. There are enough courses for Erasmus students too. In my view, it is a great place to study.
When comparing two universities’ academicians, are there any differences in terms of their approaches to students?
As I am an ESN mentor in my University and had a chance to see how it works, I would say there are very few differences and it is kind of similar.
How do you find the courses you take during the program?
I found the courses in a website of Akdeniz University. But I couldn’t take a few of the courses because of some circumstances so I had to find other ones.
“If we didn’t understand each other, we used signs. “
Can you communicate effectively with local people? How did you manage to solve the language problem?
Turkish language isn’t easy to learn and local people couldn’t speak English very well. So, I learned a few phrases and words. People were really kind and helpful, if we didn’t understand each other, we used signs. There weren’t so many problems about the lack of language. But I was trying to learn as much as possible because I was curious (and I still am).
Did you get used to the transportation system of the city and the place you stay in terms of accommodation?
It was difficult in the beginning as I couldn’t find any schedules, but maybe a month later I knew how to get where I need and later there were no problems left. The bus stop was really close to my flat and it was convenient.
“Turkish people also pay a lot of attention to their traditions and culture, even young generations, what is amazing!”
Can you tell us some cultural and social differences between your hometown and the place you live in details?
In my point of view, people in Antalya are very friendly, calm, hospitable. I didn’t see a lot of grumpy people there. I guess it is a cause of good weather and peaceful environment. Also, I saw how people relate to their families and friends. They have so many Turkish words to describe their relationships with friends, I was impressed.
Turkish people also pay a lot of attention to their traditions and culture, even young generations, what is amazing! They try to keep it and show it to foreigners as well.
My hometown – Biržai or the place where I study – Kaunas, are very different. People that I see in the streets are always in a rush and they are a little more serious and tense. Also, many people are more interested in other cultures more than their own, which is weird, because we also have some nice traditions. People are more closed and shy here in Lithuania.
“I never tasted such delicious food before.”
What do you think about the Turkish cuisine?
I never tasted such delicious food before. Turkish cuisine is so wide: every city, region has something their own and I think it wouldn’t be possible to taste everything (even though I would really like to do that). Some of the recipes are not that difficult to make at home: Now when I came back to my country, I always make “Menemen”, once I tried to make “Manti”.
I had a list of dishes that are the most popular in Turkey and I tried to taste them all. Main dishes are really tasty, but the desserts are a little too sweet for my taste (of course not all of them).
How is the city in terms of living conditions as an Erasmus student?
I think that this city is perfect for an Erasmus student. Accommodation is not expensive, food is also cheap. There are so many things to do here, a very good weather and good education system.
What do you think about the social life in Antalya?
When you are here with Erasmus program, it is not difficult to make new friends and find what to do on your free time. People in this group, ESN members are very friendly, group always organizes events and as a group they just hang out together. The city is full of tourists too, so there is always something going on in the center.
How is the social life in the university campus?
In a campus of Akdeniz University we were usually hanging out with our friends from Erasmus group or Turkish classmates. The campus is huge, it has its own shops, cafes, places to eat, stadium, gym. You can fully express yourself there.
In campus, there are a lot of zones just to sit, relax or study outside.
How is the city for sightseeing?
City has many parks, museums, beaches, waterfalls. Near Antalya there are even more places to go and visit.
How is the night life in Antalya?
There is a huge variety of clubs, bars or places to walk. If you are living close to the city center, you can fully enjoy it.
Which cities and places have you visited in Turkey so far?
During 5 months in Turkey I was in Antalya, Kemer, Istanbul. Also, I visited Cappadocia, Pamukkale, Olympus.
What are the things that you like the most in Turkey as an Erasmus student?
My favorite thing was beautiful environment: Mountains, nature, seaside, orange gardens and parks.
Also, friendly teachers and locals. And of course, the weather, which has always caused my good mood.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of Antalya?
Advantages: near the sea, friendly locals, beautiful countryside, cheap prices, nice weather, lots of activities.
Disadvantages: lots of people can’t speak English, you should be always cautious, because some people can trick you with the prices (especially taxi drivers), lots of trash in the city.
What are the difficulties you encountered and the happy moments you experienced during the programme? Can you tell us a memorable moment you had?
The most difficult thing for me was when I came back from this program and had some problems with the documents. I had difficulties with international relations office. But that was the only problem that I experienced. I had a lot of memorable moments there that I smile every time I remember it. Like when I was just spending time with my friends near the sea at night, just listening to its sound or watching my friends playing a guitar and singing. But my favorite was when our Erasmus group was in Cappadocia and I woke up at 6 in the morning, went to a roof and waited for air balloons to get off the ground. The view was amazing and I was the only one on the roof, because everyone was sleeping.
“Maybe it is hard to believe but I grew up as a person in that country.”
How did Erasmus in Turkey change your life?
It changed a lot of things in my life. Maybe it is hard to believe but I grew up as a person in that country. I learned what is most important to me, I found out how many opportunities I have. I got more confidence, found new friends, started to value even small things. I became more interested in other cultures and countries more than ever before. Also, I learned how to love my own country.
Did the Erasmus Programme meet your expectations, why do you think so?
I expected this programme to be interesting and useful for my language skills. It met my expectations and got even more than I expected. It was interesting to meet new country, its language, learning methods. I also improved my English in a field of my education.
Do you have any recommendation for those who are planning to attend Erasmus in Turkey?
For those who are afraid to try it, I would recommend forgetting all their fears and just try it. It will be a great experience. All my friends, who went to Erasmus in Turkey were happy about it.
Tell us why the others should choose Erasmus in Turkey!
It is an incredible country with different culture and unbelievably delicious food!
This country can really steal your heart and you will not want to leave it.
Please complete the sentence: I love Erasmus in Turkey because …
It makes me feel like home.