Global Post, a completely web-based international news source, launched a new beat today featuring writing from students abroad. I was selected earlier this fall as one of their student correspondents. This is the reason there hasn’t been much writing on the blog besides the Friday find. Last month, I submitted most of my writing to GP. Now that they are launching, you will be seeing more articles from me that will be published in Global Post’s year abroad section first.
As major newspapers struggle to sustain international bureaus across the world, GP uses a small group of professional reporters around the world to cover global events. They are the first international news source to rely solely on the internet as their delivery, a characteristic that helps keep their operating costs way down. If you are interested in finding another credible source for international news, definitely check out Global Post whose link is provided under “Turkish News Sources.” The media landscape continues to change, and all of us with it. However, the search for truth in the world never changes, and never ends.
Last Monday was my first venture into Kizilay, Ankara’s downtown. As you enter the area, the first thing you’ll notice is the rapid pace of traffic whirring by you and other pedestrians with sometimes only a dime’s distance apart. Any American used to streets laden with traffic signals and cars giving pedestrians the right of way will have some major adjusting to do. Thankfully that day, my friend and generous host, Mehmet, guided me to the
building where my class was located.
We made our way swiftly through downtown, dodging cabs, buses, and fast moving mini buses known as dolmus. We passed vendors that peddled everything from a donut-like pastry known as Simit to hand crafted wares made of bronze. After 10 minutes of walking from where we got off, we found a large gray building with a small “American themed” cafe below called Happy Days. The cafe looked like a Turkish interpretation of 1960s American Americana. Retro tile floors, a jukebox, and classic Pepsi and Coca-Cola logos adorned the walls. Still, the menu was distinctly Turkish as I stopped in on my second day for a small pastry.
After tripping up a crowded and difficult to navigate spiral staircase, we entered a reception area teeming with people of all sorts of nationalities waiting to hear their number called. The room felt more like an immigration office than a school. “You’re all set, right??,” asked Mehmet amidst all the languages being spoken, the frantic fluttering of papers, and dinging of bells.
I nodded to Mehmet, thanking him for all the help. I won’t bore you with the details of registering, but needless to say I had to come back the next day to “finish my registration.” However, while waiting to be called, I was connected with three siblings, TJ and her two brothers, Erol and Kevin, from Seattle. They live in the US with their Turkish father and American mother. They described how they have spent each summer in Turkey, but still do not have a complete understanding of Turkish. This time, their father registered them for classes, but unfortunately they were put into such a high level course, no one spoke any English, period. Erol explained how the teacher knew very little English herself and that, “Even the people that knew English, wouldn’t speak it because they were so dedicated to speaking Turkish.” That dedication was too much for the three of them, and they were hoping to switch to a lower level.
In a room echoing with voices speaking several different languages and people rushing back and fourth, we were four Americans, lost in translations, just trying to figure out where to go next. By Wednesday, thanks to the extreme patience of our Turkish counterparts, we all found our way to the same beginner class.
With nearly 2 billion followers, Islam is the world’s second largest religion. However, Americans, many who don’t work or see Muslims on a daily basis, understand very little about the religion including its basic belief elements. This video was made at Boston College for a presentation by the college’s Muslim Student Association. The video polls students on some basic questions about Islam.
If you have questions you’ve always wanted to ask, or would like to see certain issues addressed in future videos about Islam or countries like Turkey where the religion is prevalent, check out the Islam Awareness forum on the site.
With some of the world’s most heated issues involving religious conflicts, it is no longer possible to avoid or put off learning about one another’s basis for belief. Mutual respect can only come forward through mutual understanding.