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

Turkish schools praised by Uganda’s education minister

Ugandan Education Minister Jessica Alupo commented on the success of Galaxy International Schools in Uganda during a recent trip to Turkey. Alupo stressed that the five Galaxy International Schools, which were opened by Turkish entrepreneurs and operate across Uganda with nearly 1,500 students, encourage pupils to grow as individuals.

Pro-Gov’t Columnist Suggests Setting Turkey’s Silivri Prison Ablaze To Kill Inmates From Gülen Movement

Fatih Tezcan, a pro-government public speaker and columnist, said in a video message posted on social media that people should gather in front of Silivri Prison, which mainly hosts people jailed over links to the Gülen movement, and set it on fire, similar to the Madımak Hotel in Sivas when an angry mob in 1993 torched the hotel, killing 37 people, mostly members of the Alevi sect.

GYV praised for response to accusations about Hizmet movement

FATMA DİŞLİ ZIBAK, ALİ ASLAN KILIÇ, İSTANBUL/ANKARA An 11-article statement released by the Journalists and Writers Foundation (GYV) on Tuesday in response to a series of controversial claims and slanderous accusations made about the Hizmet movement has received appreciation and applause from many who said the statement is a good response to those who wish […]

CSOs continue to condemn hate speech against Hizmet movement

More civil society organizations from various parts of Turkey held press conferences on Friday to slam hate speech used by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government against the Hizmet movement, saying that top government officials should refrain from using hateful rhetoric.

Turkish prosecutor discredits Gülen movement to counterparts in 121 countries

Chief Public Prosecutor of Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals Mehmet Akarca has sent letters to prosecutors in 121 countries around the world explaining the failed July 15 coup in Turkey, joining Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in accusing the Gülen movement of masterminding the putsch.

Nigeria Turkish College to Host Language, Culture Festival

The Nigeria Turkish International Colleges (NTIC) will play host to Hizmet Movement for the 14th edition of the Festival of Language and Culture tagged “Colours of the World” to promote and showcase notable cultures in Nigeria.

Latest News

Fethullah Gülen’s Condolence Message for South African Human Rights Defender Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Hizmet Movement Declares Core Values with Unified Voice

Ankara systematically tortures supporters of Gülen movement, Kurds, Turkey Tribunal rapporteurs say

Erdogan possessed by Pharaoh, Herod, Hitler spirits?

Devious Use of International Organizations to Persecute Dissidents Abroad: The Erdogan Case

A “Controlled Coup”: Erdogan’s Contribution to the Autocrats’ Playbook

Why is Turkey’s Erdogan persecuting the Gulen movement?

Purge-victim man sent back to prison over Gulen links despite stage 4 cancer diagnosis

University refuses admission to woman jailed over Gülen links

In Case You Missed It

Gülen condemns Paris shootings, says all forms of terror deplorable

Fethullah Gulen Criticizes the Da Vinci Code

“Turkey, with the great assistance of Fethullah Gülen‎ has been a model”

Inside the eye of Turkey’s political storm, in rural Pennsylvania

All colors gather in Turkey to pay last tributes to Vatican official Msgr. Marovitch

Gülen’s attorney: Media speculation about extradition not true

Kimse Yok Mu enables African girls to go to school

Copyright 2022 Hizmet News