BY YAREN SAĞLIK (TRIN/III)
Name: Ziad Abu-Irhayem
Department: Industrial Engineering
Country of Origin: Palestine
What do you like best about Turkey?
What I like about Turkey is the acceptance we, as foreigners, receive from the locals with regard to any of our needs or opinions. The social diversity makes us feel welcome.
Are there any similarities between Turkey and your home country?
Lots of things are similar: the cuisine, the music, the culture and heritage, the way Islamic phrases are integrated into daily conversations, and the list goes on.
What will you miss most about Bilkent/Turkey?
I will definitely miss the people. I’ve made lots of friends over here. Unfortunately, it will be hard to reconnect with many of those friends after we all leave this place. Even with the help of social media, it’s different than meeting face-to-face.
What’s your favorite place on campus, and why?
There are plenty of places, but the one I really love is Bilka and its hill – probably because of the memories I have there with all the people I love. It also has a view of Ankara that allows you to release the stress you have from whatever Bilkent has put you through.
What’s your favorite Turkish food and/or favorite part of Turkish culture?
Ali Nazik kuzu is the best thing I’ve had here.
Where do you expect to see yourself 10 years from now?
I expect to be somewhere I never thought I would reach. Coming abroad for education has taught me that no matter how big you dream, you can always impress yourself and surpass your expectations. The sky’s the limit.
What’s the hardest challenge you’ve handled in Turkey?
The first couple of weeks when I didn’t know any Turkish were tough. However, I managed to learn just enough Turkish to survive but not speak fluently. I think that was the hardest thing so far.
What places have you visited in Turkey, and which one is your favorite?
İstanbul, Ankara, Konya, Eskişehir, Çanakkale and Bursa. I liked Çanakkale the most because of the serenity and the historical atmosphere it has.
Do you have any hidden talents?
Not that I know of, since I don’t hide my talents. Unless procrastination could be considered one, then yes. I’m a class-A procrastinator.
What’s an interesting question or comment you hear frequently about Bilkent/Turkey?
“The food is amazing over there” is what I hear most frequently about Turkey, and I couldn’t agree more. About Bilkent, the most interesting one is “How’s your semester going?” I find it interesting that people ask the question when they already know the answer: “It’s exhausting, but I love it.”