Hello, I am Yzeir, a Computer Engineering student from Albania who joined the Abdullah Gül University (AGU) this year. It has been an intense but fascinating 2 semesters, that have greatly contributed to my personal development.
I wanted to share here with you my feelings about my AGU Experience:
7 months ago I would never have seen myself where I am right now. Surrounded by some amazing people that made my life way more vivid than it used to be. People who are willing to help me learn a new language, people who will play pool with me, even when they have to study, in order not to upset me, people who celebrate birthdays better than anyone in this world, people who will stay up all night long, listening to your stories, people who will always lend you money when you run out of it; and not forgetting the professors and all the assistants that my university has.
When I first came to Kayseri, I wasn’t sure how I was going to get along here, with all these new people that were curious about my life all of a sudden. At first, everything can be a bit difficult, due to the cultural shock that everyone experiences, but later on, everything gets better and studying abroad became very enjoyable; just like in the movies, sitting outside in the grass for hours and talking to my international friends.
What I like the most about this University, is that it is far from being only an institution that provides top-quality higher education. At times it resembles a big family, everyone knows each other and everyone is willing to help these big family members.
While, I believe, that 30% of the universities worldwide still run their activities in old and poorly equipped classrooms (At least some universities in Albania are considered so); what I saw in AGU was a totally new design of classrooms, ideal size, equipped with the latest technological gadgets as projectors and “smart boards” to help teachers and professors deliver more impactful lessons (you can check photos of the University on Pinterest and Instagram).
I am not trying to compare anything or anyone, but I am sure I would never find professors like that back in my country. I was surprised at first that you get to talk to them as if they were your friends. They make you feel like there is nothing in this world that you cannot achieve if you work hard and fight for what you want. Sometimes, during classes, I feel as if I was attending some motivational speech conference, because they do realize the need that students have to be motivated.
They will always be there for you, during office hours or in emails, replying faster than online customer services. And trust me, it only takes you a few months to start feeling like you have already spent a whole life at AGU, surrounded by your people. They will make you feel at home, although you are geographically far from it. Some people will be like your parents somehow, advising you on things you do and others will be like brothers and sisters to you, fighting over small things at times, but knowing that they will always be there for you when you need them.
Talking about AGU Professors, their approach to teaching is very modern. I was surprised to see that they sometimes allow students to teach others a specific topic and intervene in class via presentations and discussions. What I liked about the classes here in AGU is that no teacher just let you take a nap during the lesson. They really care a lot about your in-class engagement. Thus, they are constantly encouraging students to answer and participate in the class discussions.
Also, the AGU Interdisciplinary approach is very strong and obvious. For example, students take classes that are not directly related to the Department they are studying in, but will definitely help them perform well in their future professional and be perfectly prepared for a life full of diversity and challenges, in which hard skills and technical knowledge do not suffice.
I never expected that I would find such a welcome from everyone, even people like the sanitary guys, the women who serve lunch, the security guys, the teaching assistants, etc. They do understand how it can sometimes be difficult to study abroad and they do their best so you get used to everything new in here.
7 months ago I can say that my vision about the “study abroad life” was not even close to this. I thought everything would be harder and considered quitting even before starting. But all the people around me, all the new friends I made, supported me and told me that quitting is not an option. They taught me that everyone here is the same, studying and working every day as hard as they can so their future is better than their present. Many times you will feel under the weather, many times you will be wanting to weep, many times you will be wanting to pack your stuff and go back to your country, but it only takes one decent conversation with one of your friends, Teaching Assistants or even the security staff to charge up your batteries and move forward enthusiastically.
I am writing this blog post to share my 1st-year University experience in Turkey with you all, but also as a record of what these people did for me in this first year of education abroad. I am sure that I will use most of this testimony again during my graduation speech, because they always say that the first year is the hardest, but the nicest at the same time. I will be thanking these people every year and I will be grateful for the opportunity that I was given to study at AGU.
I would totally recommend AGU to my Albanian fellows and to anyone who is thinking about to studying at the University. It is the people who make a place and people at AGU do their best to ensure that students are provided with high-quality education and are prepared for life after graduation.