- Posted March 17, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Why study abroad? Ask Michelle Obama
Burasi Turkiye: An American Abroad
This mélange of cultures and ideas is what has influenced my passion for endless travel; I don’t want to merely see a country, I want to be it, to taste it, to hear it. I made it a personal goal to be bilingual by 16 in order to always understand both sides of a situation. Keeping that in mind, I decided to spend my sophomore year of high school abroad in Milan, learning and living the Italian culture, which in turn fanned the flames of my linguistic curiosity. Ever since I have made it my duty to travel and learn as many languages as conceivable; I have now studied, worked, and lived in 5 different countries while having studied 10 different languages.
As a Boren Scholar, I was given the oppurtunity to study and live in Istanbul for an academic year, taking translation courses at Bogazici University. I was adopted into my roommate's kurdish family, and was able to travel the country hopping from one family member to another. That year cemented my love for Turkey and I have spent every subsequent summer working for Robert College in Istanbul.
These combined international experiences have taught me how to truly understand the quotidian life of a given country and its subtle nuances of the language or unspoken social rules. My favorite part about living in a new country is learning the slang and etiquette of the country; taking your shoes off in a Turkish household, never putting your hand in your lap until the cheese course in a Parisian restaurant, or always drying your hair before leaving an Italian house to avoid giving others the mental image of you in the shower. Learning to observe these little cultural ambiguities is what has allowed me to become a better global citizen and appreciate different perspectives.