Malik And Lotte
Can you please introduce yourself briefly? How long have you stayed in Turkey? Where do you live in Istanbul?
Lotte: My name is Lotte, I am twenty-one years old. I am from Germany and study Psychology. I live in Kadıköy, it has been four months so far.
Malik: I am Malik. My parents are Turkish. I am here for four months and I live in Kadıköy.
“When I saw Turkey in the list, there was no question about where I would go.”
Tell us why you prefered to attend Erasmus in Turkey?
Lotte: I decided to do Erasmus in Turkey because I wanted to see another culture and have the opportunity to learn another language.
Malik: I wanted to get to know the culture of my parents a bit better, live the culture of Turkey and improve my Turkish. Also, our university has many partnerships with other European universities but when I saw Turkey in the list, there was no question about where I would go.
How was your first week in Turkey and in the university?
Lotte: It was pretty exciting! I actually decided to come with another friend from Germany. So things weren’t that hard for us because we were always two of us. We got used to things. In the first week, there was no course in the university. That is different from Germany.
Malik: I came to here ten days earlier and one of my friends from Istanbul showed me around. We bought the transportation card together. It was not so hard to adapt to the university. It was a bit shocking because in Germany, we have bigger rooms like amfis. Here, we have seminar rooms with tables.
What do you think about education facilities of Marmara University?
Lotte: The campus is big but not as modern as ours in Germany.
Malik: In Germany, we use more modern equipments. The teacher comes to the class with PowerPoint slides but here; the teacher sits in the middle of class and starts to talk about things.
“The saying “hocam” (meaning: teacher) is the sign of a warm environment between students and teachers.”
When comparing two universities’ academicians, are there any differences in terms of their approaches to students?
Lotte: I think the teachers here are closer to students than Germany. In Germany, teachers come to the class, hold the lesson and leave.
Malik: The saying “hocam” (meaning: teacher) is the sign of a warm environment between students and teachers. I have a teacher who always comes to class and orders tea and biscuits for us. It is kind of a friendship between you and the teacher.
How do you find the courses you take during the program?
Lotte: We found some of them on Internet but our department coordinator told us about most of them.
Malik: There were not that many courses in English so we didn’t have a lot of choices to make. I know Turkish so I can understand Turkish lessons but English lessons were not given so effectively by the teachers.
Can you communicate effectively with local people? How did you manage to solve the language problem?
Lotte: I cannot communicate with local people on a deeper level but that is OK. I mean they don’t speak English and I don’t speak Turkish.
Malik: I just wanted to improve my Turkish and learn new accents from different regions of Turkey.
“We found the app ‘TRAFI’. Without it, I am lost.”
Did you get used to the transportation system of the city and the place you stay in terms of accommodation?
Lotte: The transportation system is the thing that we found the hardest to adapt. Because it is so huge and complicated. But then we found the app ‘TRAFI’. Without it, I am lost.
Malik: In Germany, the transportation system is very punctual. But in Turkey, buses can come two minutes late or early.
“I can say that Turkish people are the warmest people in the world! “
Can you tell us some cultural and social differences between your hometown and the place you live in details?
Lotte: One difference is the size of the city. My hometown is small whereas Istanbul is really big and crowded. They say German people are so cold but I don’t agree with that view.
Malik: I would not say anything about being cold of German people but I can say that Turkish people are the warmest people in the world! But the thing I see here is that there are many poor people, beggars. But here even if you don’t know someone you just want to help them if they need or talk to them. People are really kind here.
What do you think about Turkish cuisine?
Lotte: Lahmacun, Çiğ köfte, Mercimek(lentil) soup
Malik: Mantı, İskender, Cağ kebab, Pide, Trileçe
“If you come here with Euros, then you are the king.”
How is the city in terms of living conditions as an Erasmus student?
Lotte: It is really good!
Malik: The daily life in Turkey is really cheap. If you come here with Euros, then you are the king.
” The city never sleeps!”
What do you think about the social life in Istanbul?
Lotte: There is a lot to do.
Malik: Everyone can get what they want here. If you want to watch football or basketball game there is always a game to watch. Every hobby that you have can be done in here. You can do anything just in here or New York, not anywhere else. The city never sleeps!
“If you are a member of a club here, campus life offers a lot!”
How is the social life in the university campus?
Lotte: There are a lot of cafes in the campus and if you are a member of a club here, campus life offers a lot!
Malik: Cafes are not attractive for me personally so I don’t want to say much on this.
“Everyone can see if they search pictures on Google what Istanbul has to offer.“
How is the city for sightseeing?
Lotte: Amazing! Everyone can see if they search pictures on Google what Istanbul has to offer.
Malik: There are many tours like Bosphorus tour to see the sea and that sightseeing from the ship is perfect!
How is the night life in Istanbul?
Lotte: From what I see, it has many opportunities. If you want, you can party all night.
Malik: I don’t engage in parties.
Which cities and places have you visited in Turkey so far?
Lotte: We have been to Ankara, Marmaris, Bursa, Cappadocia, Fethiye
Malik: We have been to all those cities together but If I had a chance, I would like to visit Trabzon and Gaziantep.
What are the things that you like the most in Turkey as an Erasmus student?
Lotte: Firstly, food! Also, the people are very nice.
Malik: The fake football t-shirts. You can buy them just with 20 Turkish Lira. (5€)
“Whenever I want to relax, I just look at the sea and it calms me down. “
What are the advantages and disadvantages of Istanbul?
Lotte: What I am missing in Istanbul is something green like a park or a forest in the city. There is a forest in Istanbul but you have to drive to get there.
Malik: The biggest advantage is the sea for me. Whenever I want to relax, I just look at the sea and it calms me down. The disadvantage is traffic. You spend much of your time in traffic and you must mind the cars in the streets.
“It was the biggest prayer I’ve ever seen. It was fascinating.”
What are the difficulties you encountered and the happy moments you experienced during the programme? Can you tell us a memorable moment you had?
Lotte: I have some difficulties about the language barrier because English is not spoken so much in most of the places.
Malik: I had lots of happy moments in there. I can say that my happiest moment was Friday prayer at Sultanahmet. It was the biggest prayer I’ve ever seen. It was fascinating.
Did you undergo culture shock in Turkey?
Lotte: My biggest shock was traffic. Except form this, not at all.
“It’s a great country and there is a huge variety in people and places.”
What do you think of Turkey in general?
Lotte: It’s a great country and there is a huge variety in people and places. And the culture is so different.
Malik: I don’t want Turkey to change because it’s a really beautiful country and the people are very nice. But I hope that education will be better. Because the system is not good when we compare with other European countries, it should be improved. Also, the culture of discussion should be improved.
What are the three thing that come to your mind when you consider your Erasmus experience in Turkey?
Lotte: Eat a lot, travel a lot, I can’t find a third one.
Malik: Beautiful mosques, thousands of taxies and the most beautiful sea in the world.
“Everything works out in the end, that’s what I’ve learned.”
How did Erasmus in Turkey change your life?
Lotte: I think I have become more relaxed now. Everything works out in the end, that’s what I’ve learned.
Malik: It has and will change my life, I believe. Because in my future job, as a psychotherapist, I also want to consider the religion part in our lives.
Did the Erasmus Programme meet your expectations, why do you think so?
Lotte: I’d had the courses in English before I arrived in Turkey. So, it was a little disappointing for me.
Malik: The courses were better than I expected.
“Everyday-life is very different from what is seemed on the media. “
Do you have any recommendation for those who are planning to attend Erasmus in Turkey?
Lotte: Just come to Turkey and travel around the city yourself. Also, eat a lot 🙂 Everyday-life is very different from what is seemed on the media. Also don’t rent an apartment from your hometown. I have a friend who made that mistake and she is travelling two hours between her apartment and the university.
Malik: Before rental assignment, come to the city and be sure that you’ve chosen the best apartment for you. Because I didn’t make it and I’m regretting it.
“Turkey has best food to offer and the people are really great.”
Tell us why the others should choose Erasmus in Turkey!
Lotte: The country is amazing, especially Istanbul! You can have so many adventures and learn something from them for your life.
Malik: Turkey has best food to offer and the people are really great. You can learn lots of things even from simit sellers or taxi drivers; they at least have one story to tell you.
Please complete the sentence: I love Erasmus in Turkey because …
Lotte: The life on the streets is so different from what I knew before!
Malik: I love Turkey and Turkish culture!