BY YAREN SAĞLIK (TRIN/IV)
Name: Malaika Vardak
Country of Origin: Pakistan
What do you like best about Turkey?
I really love Turkey’s culture and its love for çay. One of my favorite things about Turkey is that it gave me a chance to meet people from other parts of the world and get to know more about different cultures. I really love the concept of çay here, and the importance it holds in people’s daily lives; besides, Turkish tea itself has a unique taste.
Are there any similarities between Turkey and your home country?
One of my favorite things about Turkey is the similarities it has with other cultures and languages, since it gives us that homey feeling in a different country. Generally, people are fond of çay and meat like in Pakistan, and there are many common words in Urdu and Turkish as well. In addition, the belief in nazar (the evil eye) is very common in Pakistan as well as in Turkey.
What will you miss most about Bilkent/Turkey?
I’ll miss my friends the most. But I’ll also miss the campus a lot, since I love how Bilkent gives us a good view of the city not only from the Bilka hill, but from many other parts of campus as well. Apart from that, I enjoy exploring the city on my own and getting to know little things about a different culture and country, so I’ll miss that too.
What’s your favorite place on campus, and why?
My favorite place on campus is actually the Faculty of Music and Performing Arts building. I find it a very peaceful spot. It’s a beautiful sight, especially during sunset and at night. The first time I visited it was for an activity for GE100 during the first semester, and ever since then I’ve loved visiting the building. I found it very beautiful when we could hear instruments being played in the building while passing by it.
What’s your favorite Turkish food and/or favorite part of Turkish culture?
İskender is my favorite Turkish food, and I love baklava, künefe, and helva as well. I really like Turkish folk and classical music, and musical instruments such as the kabak kemane.
Where do you expect to see yourself 10 years from now?
Ten years from now, I will have explored different cultures around the world, and will still be continuing to travel to more places, along with pursuing my career goals.
What’s the hardest challenge you’ve handled in Turkey?
One of the hardest challenges was dealing with the language barrier, especially in my first semester. The language barrier is huge here, and during my first days I had to use sign language to communicate with people.
What cities have you visited in Turkey, and which one is your favorite?
I haven’t traveled much in Turkey; apart from Ankara, I’ve only been to Cappadocia. I like both places equally since they’re very different from one another. I love exploring different parts of Ankara whenever I get the time, but hopefully I’ll travel to other cities as well.
What’s an interesting question or comment you hear frequently about Bilkent/Turkey?
One question that I frequently hear is about the mosques in Turkey.
Describe yourself in three words.
Adventurous, ambitious, impulsive.