One of our final year students, Stef Slack, is on an Erasmus exchange with one of our partners, in Turkey. She has written a brief blog about her experience so far for us.
Can you tell me what prompted your interest in the Erasmus programme?
Two years ago I worked as a summer camp counselor in the USA. When I returned I knew that all I wanted to do was see the world! The following year I worked in an orphanage for deaf and disabled children in India, which was a massive culture shock. But it inspired me to learn more about new and different cultures, and to have lots more exciting adventures. After returning to university I saw an Erasmus advertisement and I knew this would allow me to do all of these things and more, so of course I applied straight away!
Have you learnt any Turkish? How have you found it so far?
I’ve learnt a few words, but Turkish is so different from any language I’ve been taught before. It’s hard! They are offering elementary Turkish classes at the university though so maybe I’ll get better!
Merhaba – Hello
Teşekkürler – Thank you
Su – Water
Güle güle – Goodbye
Do you speak any other languages?
Unfortunately no. I’ve met so many people here from all over the world, some who can speak three languages! So this has inspired me! I feel so lazy.
How have you prepared for your visit?
I made sure to start my dissertation before I left. I completed my ethics forms for Isik and Cardiff Met, did my interview schedule, consent forms and started my proposal. I wanted to make sure I didn’t fall behind, as I thought it might be difficult to keep on top of everything whilst also trying to adjust to Turkish life.
How familiar are you with Turkey and Turkish life? Have you been before?
I visited Bodrum in the south of Turkey about 4 years ago. It was beautiful but very different from Istanbul! It was full of English holidaymakers, whereas Istanbul is very culturally diverse.
How are you feeling about attending lectures and writing assignments in a Turkish university?
I’ve been nervous about the style of teaching, as this is my final year and I really want to get a good grade. I’ve had a few classes so far though and all of the lecturers speak good English. I know that some of my friends have teachers who don’t speak any English (even though it is meant to be an English class) so I think I’m lucky! I’ve made lots of Turkish friends in class too. They have been so friendly and welcoming to Erasmus students!
What are you most looking forward to about the visit?
I am most looking forward to seeing more of Turkey and spending more time with the people I have met. I have met people from Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Morocco, Mexico, Denmark, Belgium, The Netherlands, and Turkey of course! We have all become so close in just a few weeks, and are already planning trips to see each other again. I know I’ve made friends for life. We’ve travelled to some amazing places in Turkey – staying in the centre of Istanbul, spending the weekend on the Prince’s Islands, and road tripping down to Izmir. Last weekend we visited Pamukkale, which are natural thermal pools. It was beautiful!
Also, how are you finding it so far?
I am having so much fun I don’t want to go home! I would recommend Erasmus to any one. I feel so lucky that I have been given the chance to experience all of this.
Evidently, there are lots of great opportunities in the Erasmus programme to see more of the world, and have a great time while completing your studies. The Erasmus programme is a great way to study abroad. If you are interested in finding out more about opportunities within the Psychology Department come and speak to our Erasmus co-ordinator Clare Glennan