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Anxhela Salja

Erasmus Student at METU

Studying abroad has become so popular nowadays. A large number of scholarships allow students to explore new cultures and go out of their comfort zone. And so did I.

When i first heard about the exchange program Erasmus+ provided by European Union i was very interested. Previously i had done an internship in Izmir and i enjoyed my staying there, so this time i thought that this is an opportunity for me to practice the Turkish language and to come even closer to their tradition, culture and history.

As an International Relations student i found it very challenging and yet interesting in the same time. Throughout my stay at METU ( Middle East Technical University} in Ankara i had the chance to participate in the MUN conference which was organized by some student of METU and i also became member of the International Relations Club. I was surprised by the high level of English and also the academic background of the professors. So as a consequence the level of class difficulty was high and and the professors required a lot of writing and research papers. But however their attitude towards the international student was really nice and they were willing to help us with the courses. Professor Ozgehan of foreign policy that we use to call him “hocam” used to tell us that we should enjoy our experience in Turkey because life doesn’t give us a second chance to do the the same mistake twice. And by this he meant that we had to travel, to meet new things that are unknown to us, to try and even if we fail as least we tried. And despite our obligation as students we also had a lot of fun and we traveled a lot. We used to organized mini trips of the most attractive areas in Turkey like Cappadocia, Istanbul, Antalya, Izmir, Black Sea etc.

As for the campus, it was huge and we used to take the dolmus ( minibuses) to go to the different departments and classes. What i really like the most was the fact that the campus was like a small town but student one where you feel like home. METU offers accommodation for students and also different facilities within the campus like bank, market, coffee shops, restaurants, mall center, sport facilities. and of course the Library which was like the whole building that UNYT has. It was big and it was always crowded not just for mid-term or finals.

Overall what i want to say is that there is some uniqueness of METU that makes it different from other Universities in Turkey and it is its liberalism and it let its students to speak out and express themselves freely. Students are encouraged to organize clubs and to politically identify themselves with different political ideologies.