Hello all this is Henry. It’s been about a week since I came to Bursa, Turkey, and I found the experience I had here completely different from what I expect it to be. With the template their reception officer gave me, I first took the metro, transfered to the bus, partly on a ferry, and finally met up with an AIESECer. It all went smoothly, and I even made my first Turkish friend on the bus when I tried to borrow a phone to inform AIESEC Bursa about my arrival. It was just amazing that I could have a “conversation” with a stranger just by clumsy body language, though I never really understood what he was trying to say and I believed it was the same case for him. Anyway we had a good time.
When I met Osman, the reception officer, I was told that my host family was not back from travel yet so I would have to stay with another AIESECer for a couple days. It turned out that my temporary host, ILket, was a really nice and funny guy and we had great fun in the days that I stayed with him. I met many of his friends; we drank Chai(tea), played football (soccer), and enjoyed fruit and sang Turkish songs (I really just hymn along) in circle. I found it interesting that the distance between Turkish is so little that they treat all their friends like their own brothers and sisters, which was not I had experienced in my culture. Maybe it’s because of their religion that they have this intimacy between friends, but no matter what I enjoyed them treating me as their kanka(brother, buddy), especially that they didn’t even know me that well yet.
I realized on the first day I arrived that English was not such a common language among Turks, thus I’ve tried to pick up some basic Turkish when I’m here. It’s not likely for a person to get around without knowing some Turkish, and that was also one of the challenges I encountered when teaching English. Though I’m teaching at a language school of kids as old as me, their English level was quite low that I’ll have to try really hard to explain in fundamental English most of the time.
There are still things that I’m trying to get use to, like their public transportation, their smoking culture, or just their language. I look forward of the rest of my time here and hopefully I’ll have some time to travel around.