BY YAREN SAĞLIK (TRIN/III)
Name: Jonathan Pflanzer
Department: Political Science
Country of Origin: Germany
What do you like best about Turkey?
The people. I learned this during the very first night of my arrival. I was taking the bus from the airport to AŞTİ, and a woman asked me where I was coming from. I told her that I was from Germany and was coming to Ankara for an exchange semester. The woman turned out to have been born and raised in Turkey but a German citizen for 30 years, and was coming to Ankara to visit her sister. After we both got off at AŞTİ, she and her sister drove me to Bilkent. They even helped me with translation at the campus entrance and in the dormitory as if it were the most normal thing in the world – even though actually it was 4 a.m., and we barely knew each other. This would never have happened in Germany.
Are there any similarities between Turkey and your home country?
In Germany, there’s a large diaspora of over three million Turks. Many of them came as migrants to help rebuild our country in the 1960s. Today, they’ve been living there for two or three generations and have become an integral part of our society.
What will you miss most about Bilkent/Turkey?
The Marmara Cafeteria. To be honest, this is the first university where I’ve actually liked the cafeteria food. Of course, I’ll also miss all the amazing people that I’ve gotten to know during these four months.
What’s your favorite place on campus, and why?
Bilka. It doesn’t matter when you go there – you’ll always find some nice people to hang out with and talk to.
What’s your favorite Turkish food and/or favorite part of Turkish culture?
If I had to choose my favorite food, I’d go for irmik helvası. This might be one of the best desserts I’ve ever tried; I can’t get enough of it.
Where do you expect to see yourself 10 years from now?
My goal has always been to become the spokesperson of a company or an institution. In ten years, I may not be a spokesperson yet, but I do expect to be working in a public relations department – hopefully for a company that produces renewable energy.
What’s the hardest challenge you’ve handled in Turkey?
I went paragliding a couple of days ago. The challenge for me was to trust a person I’d never met before to bring me back to the ground safely.
What places have you visited in Turkey, and which one is your favorite?
Unfortunately, thus far I haven’t visited a lot of places in Turkey. I’ve seen Ankara, of course, as well as Beypazarı and Fethiye, which I liked the most because of its unique landscape. But obviously I plan on visiting İstanbul and İzmir too.
Do you have any hidden talents?
For some reason, I’m quite good at guessing and remembering numbers. Apart from that, I’m a good and passionate writer – but to people who know me, this might not come as a surprise.
What’s an interesting question or comment you hear frequently about Bilkent/Turkey?
People ask me all the time why I chose to come to Turkey. I’m glad you didn’t ask me that too (haha)!