We came here for different reasons. I wanted to experience a culture shock, Qianqian because the trip for her is really not expensive and of major class choice. Caroline has chosen Turkey from many “study abroad” programs at MSU (Michigan State University) and has always wanted to travel.
‘Plus this trip is one of the cheapest trips offered. Taking classes, travelling and eating in Turkey cost approximately the same as a stay at home for the summer. But mostly when people would ask me, "why do you want to go to Turkey?" I would respond, "why not". Lately I've had a huge desire to travel and explore as many places as I can so I thought this would be a great way to start”, says Caroline.’
It is not surprising that we all had some stereotypes in mind. My Chinese friend thought there should be more religion in the culture, like a lot of Islam.
Caroline was told that the people were very friendly (which they are) and the town is beautiful (which it is). A student thought more people would speak English though. And she really really really wished she had learnt more Turkish before coming over here.
Well, same here. Although now I always carry the dictionary and use body language, sometimes it tires me out. Anyway, one stereotype fits perfectly – the Turkish men try to come closer to the European women. But I‘ll write more about the stereotypes and how they work in other blog entries.
The worst thing is that everybody stares at us. Chinese student also doesn’t like it. ‘I didn’t think that it is because they rarely have Asians around. People here like looking at people, no matter whether I am in a group or in person. There is always someone looking at us or at me and it is kind of uncomfortable.’