Each Year We Are Able to Send 17 Students to Europe, With Erasmus+ Program6 YEAR(S) AGO
Each year 10 of our students can get one semester at Pazmany Peter Catholic University’s Turcology Department in Budapest, the capital of Hungary, with 5 more for a semester at the Oriental Studies Institute of Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany, and 2 for a year at the Turcology Department of the University of Uppsala in Uppsala, Sweden. Thus, our students get the chance to make use of the knowledge and experience of European Turcologists.
We would like to share the experience of a few students who had that opportunity:
In 2012, in my 3rd year at TOBB ETÜ as a Turkish Language and Literature student, I made use of the opportunity to spend a semester in Budapest/Hungary within the framework of the Erasmus program. I call it an opportunity, for no other word comes close to describing it.The university kept our pocket money contributions intact when sending us abroad, as well as enhancing our economic conditions further by some support for accommodation expenses. To boot, the grant provided by the Erasmus Program gave us the chance to discover 8 European countries: Budapest as well as a number of cities in Hungary, not to mention Vienna, Krakow, Prague, Bratislava, Rome, Pisa, Venice, Florence, Paris, and Amsterdam, were on our route. Traveling to these cities and getting experiences, making new international friends, learning about other nations, increasing our cultural and scientific awareness were of course among the most valuable contributions the program had for us. On the other hand, the guidance and experience provided by our foreign professors gave us the keys to the kingdom of unknown. That semester contributed to shaping my thoughts and ideals for the future further. That is why I consider that experience one of the highlights of my university education, and recommend it to all.
I had the opportunity to spend a semester at Pazmany Peter Catholic University (Budapest) as one of the first steps towards realizing my dreams. The program brought much to my life from an educational perspective as well as from a social and cultural one. I guess I had a transformation, an enhancement. Budapest is no longer a city in the heart of Europe, it will always be in my heart as well. Mine is a tale of 8 months full of new excitements, new adventures, achievements, friendships. Each and every moment of those 8 months was a distinct excitement and joy for me. I had the opportunity to get acquainted with Budapest easily, and experience all of its offerings. Of course I always felt a lack of elements from our own culture in the new cultural environment I experienced. One of the most important longings I had was about food. I believe I was able to enhance what I inherently had, with the good and useful elements of the new experience, growing into a “better version” of me. I came to see and enjoy some different features of the educational system in Hungary as an advantage for both the students and the teaching staff. One such advantageous differences is that each course is 1:30 hours per week. The reduced course time gave me more opportunities to improve myself, as well as to study for my classes. I met with other friends who came from other countries, within the framework of the Erasmus program. We took courses together, and organized events and competitions. All these gave us the chance to get to know each other better. There were the Days of Culture where we represented Turkey as we should. We had some presentations, and made the audience fall in love with our culture and food. I loved the Erasmus program so much that I decided to stay for the Spring semester as well, extending my time at Pazmany Peter from just the Fall semester as I was supposed to. Looking back, I realize what a good decision that was. After sending Buket and Gözde –my beloved friends with whom I went to Budapest– back to Turkey, Maria from Slovakia and Deli from Romania joined me to stay. This not only gave me the chance to make two new friends, but also to practice with my foreign language skills, providing me great benefits for the remainder of my studies as well as my Erasmus internship in Venice. The location of Budapest gave me the chance to travel many countries easily and on the cheap. I traveled around, and met new people, cities, ways, and cultures. After the Erasmus experience I had at Pazmany Peter Catholic University, I came to see the improvements in me thanks to the contributions of the program, and noticed the new horizons of thought I came to know about. Later on, I once again applied for the Erasmus program, for an internship. I had my internship in Venice, at Ca’ Foscari University. That was a great opportunity for me. I prepared and taught pilot courses on Turkish, under the supervision of Ms. Nilay Suludere. For doing so, I used my English language skills in two classes, and intermediate level Turkish in another (master’s class). Of course, my experience in Budapest had done much good for my English proficiency. I wrote reports for the courses I taught and observed. I am grateful for the overseas opportunity the Erasmus program gave me. I am grateful for that option. I am grateful for meeting new people and cultures. I want to take this opportunity to note my eternal respects and pay my regards to my dearest teacher Eva Csaki who went beyond and became like a mother to me, my dear teacher Giampiero Bellingeri whose support I always felt with me, my friends who will be welcoming me whenever I go abroad, and about 70 beloved students who had always a keen ear on me.
The Erasmus program and the internships abroad were certainly among the times when I gathered my best memories through my education at TOBB ETÜ. In the first of these semesters, I had the chance to have an internship at Yunus Emre Turkish Culture Center in Skopje. That internship gave me both the experience to live and work abroad, as well as a most precious set of contacts. The experiences I had there helped me when I filed an application for Erasmus, and thereafter spent a semester in Budapest, the capital of Hungary. That semester, in turn, instilled an expansive academic vision and mode of thought in me. I should also mention the tens of friends I made from all corners of Europe. Throughout my two semesters abroad, of course the most important occupation I had was to travel around. Indeed, I had the opportunity to travel to approximately 30 cities in 10 countries. It is a great advantage to have seen most of the Balkans, my area of specialization, and a substantial part of Europe, from my current perspective.
Buket Nur Kırmızıgül
I went to Hungary in the Fall semester of 2012-2013, within the framework of Erasmus Student Exchange Program. I had three of my friends from the department (Hamide Türk, Zeynep Gözde Kozlu and Mahmut Mazlum) with me. We had an unforgettable experience at Pazmany Peter Catholic University. There, we had a semester which left the students with substantial amounts of time outside the classes. The university had two campuses: One in the city center of Budapest, and another in a small village called Pilischaba, outside the city. We stayed at the dormitory at Pilischaba, and believe you me, we had an amazing four months there. Pilischaba is a cute little village surrounded by the greenest of forests. We saw deers running in front of our windows, at a time we least expected. It was a semester spent at the heart of nature, and away from the stress of the city as well as trying courses. Last but not least, I want to take this opportunity to thank Eva Csaki, who offered the courses we took during our term there, for their attentive outreach to us.
Ümmü Burçin Özkan
I took part in the Erasmus student mobility program, and spent the summer semester of 2015 in Mainz, Germany. The courses I took at Johannes Gutenberg University, Department of Turcology gave me insights into eternity. Yes, I am not exaggerating. That is an exactly accurate description. I had the chance to study not only Turkish Language and Literature, but also how Turkish culture was studied in its turn. The courses I took and the greater appreciation of the culture of the West made the world both much smaller and much bigger for me. There are so many places to see, so many pieces of knowledge to learn... How ignorant were we... I am delighted to have friendships beyond the borders of Germany, and many sweet memories from the places I saw. The three and a half months I had there allowed me to travel to France, Switzerland, and Spain as well. Seeing new countries and getting a close feel of the history there was truly exciting. Of course one would not want to leave Germany without visiting Berlin, the capital. And we certainly didn’t. Looking back, Erasmus ranks at the top of the list of experiences I am glad to have. The grants and scholarships, which are crucial for any student’s budget, did not pose any problems for us. The support provided by the school, as well as the state, helped us to have a program as fruitful as possible. If I had the chance to have a repeat performance, I would not think twice before going. For, I got to travel and study simultaneously, and realized that learning had no limits.