BY AMNA KARA (MAN/IV)
Name: Mustafa Ghani Sodagar
Department: Mechanical Engineering/III
Country of Origin: Pakistan
What do you like best about Turkey?
The best thing about Turkey is the mixture of landscapes and cultures, both ancient and modern. While places like Cappadocia will surround you with history, cities like Ankara will give the metropolitan feel of a sophisticated 21st-century urban center. From ski resorts to beaches, everything is just a couple of hours away. Every city has its own unique beauty, with a different story to tell. I just hope I’ll be able to explore and hear most of those stories by the time I get done with my studies.
Are there any similarities between your country’s culture and Turkey’s?
Parallels can be drawn between Pakistani culture and Turkish culture in terms of social values and festivals. There are a lot of words shared by Turkish and Urdu, too.
What will you miss most about Turkey/Bilkent?
The fact that my friends won’t be living less than five minutes away from me.
What’s your favorite place on campus, and why?
My favorite place is the lawn in front of Dorm 76. On a sunny day, it becomes the perfect place to lie down, listen to music or just have conversations with friends. It’s also one of the best places to take breaks during an all-nighter.
While coming to Turkey had its advantages, such as halal food, the scholarship offer extended by Bilkent was the main reason.
What’s your favorite Turkish food/ favorite part of Turkish culture?
All kinds of Turkish desserts, especially baklava.
Where do expect to see yourself 10 years from now?
I’m not the sort of person to plan or think ahead, but if I have to answer, hopefully in 10 years I’ll still be exploring new places and doing things I haven’t done before.
What’s the hardest challenge you’ve overcome in Turkey?
The hardest challenges were the language barrier and adjusting to the change of lifestyle. From ever since I can remember, I had my family doing things for me so that I didn’t have to, and as a result the only thing I knew how to cook before I came to Turkey was instant noodles. From knowing nothing to learning how to fry eggs, cook a number of dishes, wash clothes, find matching socks and everything in between, it was a tough transition. On the other hand, I haven’t really overcome the language barrier, since I know only basic Turkish words.
What cities have you visited in Turkey? Which one do you like the best?
Amasra, Safranbolu, İstanbul, Konya, Pamukkale, Antalya, Cappadocia and İzmir. The cosmopolitan vibe, coupled with ideal weather and the beach, makes Antalya my favorite among the places that I’ve visited.
Do you have any hidden talents?
Nope. None. Zero.
What’s a question you’re asked frequently, or the most interesting comment you’ve heard at Bilkent/in Turkey?
“Why don’t you know Turkish yet?” or “Why did you come to Bilkent/Turkey for your studies?”