BY YAREN SAĞLIK (TRIN/III)
Name: Maryam Hamwy
Country of Origin: Syria
What do you like best about Turkey?
The scenery! Living in a literal desert practically my whole life, I’d never properly gotten the chance to experience all four seasons, so this is definitely something I’ll never forget. Also, the sunset isn’t yellow and quick, so I always look like a child when I’m staring at it.
Are there any similarities between Turkey and your home country?
Since my country’s super close, we already share a lot of cultural background, but one thing I’ve noticed and adored is how the people here seem to be so connected and familiar with one another. It really reminds me of home and back where I lived in Qatar; it being super small, everyone somehow knew each other or was just simply friendly, and it’s genuinely comforting seeing that very same thing in a much bigger country.
What will you miss most about Bilkent/Turkey?
Honestly, it will be the constant feeling of safety and security. Because walking outside at night has become almost a part of my schedule (due to being in the studio for so long), it’s an amazing and rare feeling to know that the only thing I have to worry about is the foxes that no one’s ever really seen. Back where I live, commuting is only possible by car; even taking public transport was a big no-no, so this is something I loved getting used to… I’m already missing it.
What’s your favorite place on campus, and why?
I’m going to hit you with the most basic answer: the music building. Since I live on East Campus, I tend to walk back to my dorm more often than I take the bus; this has gotten to be one of my favorite parts of the day. Besides the stars being the clearest there, there’s this one fat cat in front of the building that I always stop by to pet for a couple of minutes… or hours.
What’s your favorite Turkish food and/or favorite part of Turkish culture?
Since the similarities between the Turkish and Arab cultures are so extensive, it’s really difficult to find one distinct thing that I haven’t already had, but I’m definitely head over heels in love with dondurma, no matter the season.
Where do you expect to see yourself 10 years from now?
Considering how classes are going with me, I’m definitely going to be back home mooching off my parents.
What’s the hardest challenge you’ve handled in Turkey?
So, going back to a story in the issue published two weeks ago, I’m the friend of the girl who somehow got lost in the middle of nowhere and hitchhiked rides from four different people. Not to brag, but like… we didn’t die. In all seriousness though, the biggest struggle is the language barrier; this story shows how easy it is for us to get lost in the first place.
What places have you visited in Turkey, and which one is your favorite?
I’ve visited many touristy cities over the summers, but my favorite would be Safranbolu. It was the very first city that I traveled to alone with my sister; it was full of very sweet elders, and the walks were also beautiful. We even ended up circling the entire town because of how drawn to every part of it we were.
Do you have any hidden talents?
Because it’s hidden, I’m not sure if I’m actually good at it, but I think I have a knack for imitating people and accents.
What’s an interesting question or comment you hear frequently about Bilkent/Turkey?
Not a question but a common remark: “Oh, so you’re rich rich?”