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

International photography contest “Peace at the Frame”

The Journalist and Writers Foundation’s (GYV) Intercultural Dialogue Platform announces its first, annual photography contest. GYV likes to draw attention one more time to the peace, which is need more than ever these days through art of photography .GYV intends to unite everybody who can put the peace at his/her frame with the expertise of the art of photography.

Purge-victim businessman sent back to prison a week after stomach cancer surgery: son

Hacı Boydak, a Kayseri-based Turkish businessman, has been put in solitary confinement only one week after he underwent a cancer surgery, according to his son.

Journalists and Writers Foundation (GYV) gathers all colors of Turkey at iftar

ESRA MADEN, İSTANBUL Many distinguished figures including Turkey’s spiritual leaders, politicians, artists, businessmen and journalists came together at the same iftar (fast-breaking dinner) table on Tuesday night in an event held by the Journalists and Writers Foundation (GYV). GYV Honorary President Fethullah Gülen greeted the guests with a message he issued for the night. “Ramadan […]

Interview with Kimse Yok Mu Foundation’s President Ismail Cingoz

Kimse Yok Mu Foundation (KYM) President Ismail Cingoz spoke on Turkey’s helping hand extending to the world: “We involve approximately 10 thousand volunteers in our efforts. We have 97 thousand families that we have been consistently providing aid for. We are active in 103 countries regardless of their ethnicity, language, faith or color.” We talked […]

Turkish teacher kidnapped in Mongolia freed after authorities ground flight

A Turkish teacher, who was allegedly kidnapped in the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar and taken to the city’s airport, has been released after authorities temporarily grounded an airplane, according to local media and a social media posting by the man.

Police raid Gülen-inspired schools in Adana despite ministry regulation

The Adana Police Department early on Thursday coordinated with inspectors from several ministries and other institutions to conduct raids on private schools, dormitories and prep schools established by volunteers inspired by the Gülen movement, despite regulations stating that only the Education Ministry may perform such inspections.

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

Kazakh President Nazarbayev hails Turkish schools in his country

Turkey – Baby with Down syndrome suffers major health problems in absence of jailed parents

AK Party Deputy Hakan Şükür resigns due to hostile moves against Hizmet movement

Today is another Human Rights Day, but atrocities persist | Opinion

Father jailed over Gülen links, 6-months-old paralyzed baby left in intensive care

Turkey seizes another baklava maker over coup charges, appoints deputy governor as caretaker

Real democrats cannot politicize Islam

Copyright 2023 Hizmet News