First days at ODTU

Trip Start Sep 04, 2006
Trip End Jan 2007

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

I moved onto the METU campus on Sunday the 10th with the help of friends I met through Mathew and Diane, names Safi and Dawn. Safi is an Iranian man living here in Ankara receiving his doctorate here at METU. He is married to Dawn, a beautiful woman from North Dakota. As you read my future entries, you will see me refer to my school here as METU and ODTU, interchangeable. The Turkish words for Middle Eastern (Technical University) are Orta Dogu (silent g) thus ODTU. I found out when I arrived here that METU is the "Harvard of the Middle East," the best education university in the entire middle east. So, my failed dream of attending Harvard for undergrad is actually slightly satisfied because I am now going to the same school with the Middle East's best of the best... how dumb do I feel.

ODTU is the one of the largest campuses in Turkey, the largest university campus I have ever stepped foot on... yes even larger than VT. Of course my classes are all in the International Relations building which is literally on the OTHER side of the campus, good thing I only have to make the pilgrimage twice a week.

The minute I stepped into my international guesthouse "dorm" I met another girl who just happened to be part of my program. Melis, who is half Turkish has become one of my closest friends on this trip. She is wonderful to help me with my Turkish, or lack of. I think mom and dad's nickname for me "The Social Butterfly" is truer than it ever has been. While it is intimidating to communicate to people who speak little or no English, I am challenging myself each day to start conversations with these Turkish students. While the majority like to use and practice their English in simple conversation, I have still encountered quite a few who want nothing to do with me the American or the English language in general. I dont take it too personal since I am pretty much butchering their native language while I spit out a few syllables hoping it makes some word that they can half-way recognize.

I love my CIEE American group here, all 14 of them. What are the odds that an organization can accept 15 students from all over the US, with very different backgrounds and interests, and it work out that they all end up being ridiculously close to each other instantly? We all keep talking about how this could not have worked out better that we all love each other so much. I can very matter-of-factly say, I am the only Republican, only Christian, only highly politically invloved, only country girl from the south on the whole trip and yet I get along great with everyone. Crazy huh! Having such a wonderful group who really enjoy each others company is making this adventure twice as much fun.
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