US high school students visit Turkey, give glowing reviews

Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia
Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia


Date posted: August 23, 2014

A group of American students who came to İstanbul in a cultural exchange program have told Today’s Zaman that their warm reception in Turkey has caused them to view the country extremely positively.

Fifty-five students, aged from 10 to 18, arrived in Turkey on Aug. 5 from US states such as New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and Massachusetts. The program ran until Aug. 21, when they were presented with a certificate by Fatih University. During the program, the students attended Turkish lessons until noon, after which they spent the afternoon with their Turkish host families. In addition, the students had the opportunity to travel to cities like Bursa and İzmir, as well as exploring İstanbul itself, to immerse themselves in Turkish culture.

Dania Martinez accompanied her daughter during the trip. Speaking to Today’s Zaman, Martinez said: “The prejudices are wrong. Turks and Muslims are very warm people. I had some fears about Turkey [before coming]; I knew nothing about the culture. After the Sept. 11 attacks, the media gave misleading and frightening news about Muslims, but I wanted to see and learn for myself. I wanted to make up my own mind about Muslims. When I came to Turkey, I met with a big surprise. I’ve seen the culture, the unity and the love here and I know these are very important because you don’t see this much in America. Turkish culture is very enchanting; you [Turks] are very helpful … and are always positive. These are things I appreciate about your culture.”

Martinez also shared her thoughts on her daughter learning the Turkish language: “I think it’s great. In America only Spanish, French and English are taught in schools. For my daughter to learn Turkish is really lucky, especially because at such a young age she will gain a third language.”

Ten-year-old Xavier Siciliano, the youngest student of the group, also shared his thoughts on his Turkish experiences, saying: “Turkey is an amazing place. The food is great, everyone is so nice. Next time I come here I am going to bring my friends with me. My favorite thing about Turkey is how warm people here are.”

Sebastian Caceres, aged 11, said: “The teachers are always really helpful. My host family taught and helped me a lot. There was this one family that we went to go visit with a little girl. I gave her my hand flashlight, which for me was not anything important. But the little girl’s eyes sparkled and she was very happy.”

Another student, 14-year-old Nate Grey, added: “My friend told me how much fun he had when he came last year. My dad also pushed me to come [to İstanbul]. It’s on the coast of the sea, there are old buildings and all the mosques are so different and beautiful. The family that hosted me was great… Everyone is so polite, kind and helpful. If I say it’s hot, they immediately turn on the air conditioning; if I say I’m thirsty, someone immediately brings me a glass of water. Everyone smiles and is happy, no matter the situation. This is something you cannot find in America.”

Source: Today's Zaman , August 21, 2014


Related News

New York Times Editorial Board: Turkey’s Relentless Attack on the Press

The family that owns Dogan Holding has long been influential in Turkey’s secular establishment and ran afoul of Mr. Erdogan’s Islamist-based A.K.P. Party in 2009. With the company targeted again and fearful of losing more assets, the newspaper Hurriyet is widely seen as pulling punches to appease Mr. Erdogan by firing journalists and quashing even mildly critical news stories.

Turkish school takes US approach to get foothold in Egypt

“We have a character education program,” said the school principal, Mr. Shimshek. “We focus on responsibility, respect, caring, citizenship and giving back to society.”

Light Academy schools groom global citizens

Light Academy started as 8-4-4 system in 1998, in a small compound on Ngong Road in Nairobi, with eight students. The IGCSE system was introduced in 2001. It has now grown to accommodate 1,600 students in eight campuses, one in Malindi, two in Mombasa and five in Nairobi.

Gülen urges patience over prep schools row

Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen expressed unhappiness over government [in Turkey] plans to abolish educational institutions that assist high school students to prepare for the national university admission examination and urged people to be patient in the face of this move, which is interpreted as a blow to education in the country.

Iran’s Turkish gold rush

While the gas-for-gold scheme may have been technically legal before Congress finally shut it down in July, it appears to have exposed the Turkish political elite to a vast Iranian underworld. According to Today’s Zaman, suspicious transactions between Iran and Turkey could exceed $119 billion — nine times the total of gas-for-gold transactions reported.

Turkey Deports Journalist for Criticizing Government on Twitter

The editor in chief of Today’s Zaman, Bulent Kenes, said that Mr. Zeynalov’s deportation was an attempt to intimidate the foreign news media after Mr. Erdogan’s government had moved to suppress critical reporting in the local media. “I consider his deportation as a lesson the government tries to teach at micro level,” Mr. Kenes said. “It is intimidation of everyone doing international journalism.”

Latest News

This notable Pocono resident has been living here in exile since 1999

Logistics companies seized over Gülen links sold in fast-track auction

That is Why the Turkish Government could Pay 1 Billion Euros

ECtHR rules Bulgaria violated rights of Turkish journalist who was deported despite seeking asylum

Fethullah Gülen’s Message of Condolences in the Wake of the Western European Floods

Pregnant woman kept in prison for 4 months over Gülen links despite regulations

Normalization of Abduction, Torture, and Death in Erdogan’s Turkey

Turkey’s Maarif Foundation illegally seized German-run school in Ethiopia, says manager

Failed 2016 coup was gov’t plot to purge Gülenists from state bodies, journalist claims

In Case You Missed It

Hizmet movement applauded at friendship dinner in Italy

Palestinian woman denied visa to Turkey for treatment, says Kimse Yok Mu official

Doctors In Turkey discouraged from writing up reports on abuse, torture

Foreign journalists baffled by gov’t decision to shut down prep schools

I support Turkish schools with all my heart

Gulen, a Secret Cardinal?

The Gülen Factor: Erdogan, the Coup, and the United States

Copyright 2021 Hizmet News