Each year, 8 of our students get the chance to have their one semester of cooperative education in a number of countries including Belgium, Italy (Venice), Sweden (Stockholm), and Germany (Mainz).

We would like to share the experience of a few students who had that opportunity:

I had the opportunity to attend Johannes Gutenberg University, Institute of Oriental Studies in Germany, during the summer semester 2014 as part of my cooperative education. That semester was very crucial for me, as it was not only my first cooperative education, but also my first opportunity to live abroad. First of all, serving as a student assistant at the Turkish Studies Department of a German university, which commands substantial respect in this field, I had a first-hand experience of the academic studies, and provided assistance where required. At the same time, I was assigned to helping with the speech practice courses at the faculty, giving the students opportunity to use their Turkish skills in real life. These gave me a small glimpse on what an academic career would look like. During my three months in Germany, I got the opportunity to visit numerous European countries and cities as well. This enabled me to get better insights into a number of different cultures, and spend some time with people from other societies. I feel that all these made and will continue to make immense contributions to my private as well as educational life.

In the summer semester of 2013, we attended the cooperative education program, at the Union of Turkish Associations in Belgium (Turkse Unie), through the Erasmus exchange program. Through the semester, we had numerous opportunities to observe the lives of Turks living there. Furthermore, we got the chance to have interviews with some of the Turks living there, with a view to contributing to the book to be published in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the arrival of the first Turkish guest workers in the country. We heard many interesting and impressive experiences and stories. We also traveled around, visiting a number of European countries. Due to the fact that the town we lived in, Hasselt, was actually in the Netherlands, we frequently took our time to visit Maastricht. Our travels inside Belgium were also most enjoyable. The interest and attention of the people we worked with at the Union also played a large part in making our semester one to remember fondly. I guess it was the best cooperative education semester we ever had. As the town we stayed in was home to some of the best universities of Belgium, we got the opportunity to meet and get acquainted with other university students as well. Getting to know new people and making new friends was so much fun.

Having ranked 92th in whole Turkey in the OSS university exams in 2008, I was accepted to TOBB ETÜ Turkish Language and Literature Department. During my undergraduate studies, I had three distinct internship (cooperative education) experiences. The first one was at Timaş Publishing House, followed by a second one at Yunus Emre Turkish Culture Center’s Turkish Qualification Exam (TYS) unit. The third one was at the Union of Turkish Associations in Belgium, made possible thanks to the Erasmus exchange program. There, I worked as a research assistant, and had the opportunity to contribute to the organization of the events by the association, editorial activities, and the annual project sponsored by the Flemish Ministry. Furthermore, I spent one semester at Pazmany Peter Catholic University in Hungary, again through Erasmus student mobility program, taking courses at the Hungorology department, getting a better feel of the Turcology ecole at Hungary.

Every university student dreams about going abroad for his studies as well as to work, gaining new experiences along the way. But only a few can achieve that. Thanks to the opportunities provided by TOBB ETÜ, I found myself among that lucky few. Combining the cooperative education program, practically a trademark of our school, and Erasmus student mobility, I had the opportunity to spend one semester at a university in Italy. During my time there, I not only had most valuable experiences regarding my field, but also spent some time wandering around and getting a feel of major European towns. I also believe that, my time abroad, getting to know different cultures and practicing my foreign language skills, was a most fruitful investment into the future. But I should also add that, cooperative education, overseas or otherwise, is essentially a huge opportunity to get most important experiences. In this context, the cooperative education I had at the Legal Consultancy of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey, on the basis of the double major program I am enrolled with at the Faculty of Law, was also as useful and enjoyable as the one I had abroad. In a nutshell, the cooperative education program, not to mention its supplementary benefits, makes education a fun and enjoyable experience.