BY NAUSHERWAN AZIZ (MAN/III)
Name: Loulwa Kalassina
Country of Origin: Lebanon
What do you like best about Turkey?
I come from a country that’s smaller than Ankara in size. So I have to say that one of my favorite things about Turkey is how big it is, and how different each city is. Every time I meet a Turkish person I get to learn new things about culture and traditions that belong only to her or his own city. Another thing that has grabbed my attention here is the public transportation. It intrigues me how much people utilize the metro, the dolmuses, the public buses.
Are there any similarities between Turkey and your home country?
Lebanese people and Turkish people share the same pride when it comes to their countries. We can start a fight about whose food is better, and it’ll go on forever (or until Turkish people admit that Lebanese food can’t be topped). Another similarity is the hospitality and the respect people have for one another, which make me feel at home.
What will you miss most about Bilkent/Turkey?
I’ll definitely miss the people. Bilkent has introduced me to the kindest, most interesting people, who are affecting my life on a daily basis, and I don’t like to think about the time when we’ll have to separate.
What’s your favorite place on campus, and why?
My favorite place on campus is the Bilka area, or the hill; I don’t know what we’re calling it these days, but it’s the perfect place to chill after classes. That is, if it’s sunny and the weather’s not freezing, because in that case my favorite place would be my dorm.
Another favorite place of mine is the basketball court, where I get to spend some of my free time enhancing my skills or challenging friends.
What’s your favorite Turkish food and/or favorite part of Turkish culture?
My favorite Turkish food is irmik helvası. It’s cheap and tastes good: a perfect combination. I’m also a big fan of midye and lahmacun. And when it comes to the culture, a favorite thing that I’ve noticed and find really amusing is the “kanka” handshake. People shake hands then knock their foreheads twice as a greeting.
Where do you expect to see yourself 10 years from now?
I’m the type of person who would rather not think that far ahead. I’d rather restrict my vision to what I’m having for dinner today.
What’s the hardest challenge you’ve handled in Turkey?
I wish I were handling it, but the biggest challenge I’m facing here has to be the language barrier. There’s nothing I want more than to be able to fluently communicate in Turkish with the people I meet here.
What cities have you visited in Turkey?
Other than Ankara, I’ve only been to Trabzon. It’s got amazing views because of its beautiful location near the Black Sea. I also came across many Arabs during my stay there, which made me love the city even more.
Do you have any hidden talents?
I can touch my nose with my tongue. You might not consider it a talent, but it’s my only achievement, so let’s call it a talent.
What’s an interesting question or comment you hear frequently at Bilkent/in Turkey?
My mom and aunties asking me if I’ve run into Kıvanç Tatlıtuğ during my stay in Turkey…that guy is every Lebanese mom’s dream.
Describe yourself in three words.
Spontaneous, proud, curious.
If you could master any skill, which one would you choose, and why?
I just want to play the drums, but Architecture is stopping me (it’s actually my bad time management that’s stopping me, Architecture’s not that bad). It’s a beautiful instrument that I’ve been wanting to play since I was a child but never got the chance to.