Name: Amna Kara
Country of Origin: Pakistan
What do you like best about Turkey?
Turkey truly is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. I love that I can see elements of various cultures and that diversity is not only tolerated but celebrated.
Are there any similarities between your country’s culture and Turkey’s?
There are a lot of similarities in terms of the importance of family, nationalism and love for one’s country and, of course, the love for çay!
What will you miss most about Turkey/Bilkent?
After spending four years in a country you’ve grown to love, it’s very hard to pick just one thing. I’ll miss my friends, the delicious food and going on spontaneous trips to different cities, but most of all I’ll miss the freedom and independence I’ve experienced here.
What’s your favorite place on campus, and why?
The Dormitories Sports Hall! I took the facilities it offered for granted until I went on Erasmus and realized that most universities don’t even offer a free sports hall and don’t have half the facilities of ours.
It originally wasn’t part of my plan, but once I arrived here, I didn’t have any regrets about my decision. I guess it was fate.
What’s your favorite Turkish food/favorite part of Turkish culture?
As a foodie, Turkey is literally paradise for me! I could probably talk for hours about the food here, but if I were to pick one thing, it would be waffles. I especially love the waffles here – they’re not just dessert, but big enough to be a meal in themselves.
Where do expect to see yourself 10 years from now?
I hope to have at least gotten my master’s and to be working in a job I love.
What’s the hardest challenge you’ve overcome in Turkey?
The language barrier! I know it’s hard to believe, but the language barrier on campus has actually decreased from what it was when I first arrived. During my first year, there were barely any signs in English or any English-speaking personnel in the dorms, health center, etc., but gradually, the university has improved in this area and the barrier has decreased significantly.
What cities have you visited in Turkey? Which one do you like the best?
I’ve been to İzmir, İstanbul, Konya, Eskişehir, Pamukkale, Trabzon and a few other smaller cities, but the best has to be İzmir! I’m looking forward to exploring more of the country after finals.
Do you have any hidden talents?
Does writing this column for three years count?
What’s a question you’re asked frequently, or the most interesting comment you’ve heard at Bilkent/in Turkey?
I think the most frequent, albeit not the most interesting question asked is about my English. I’m often asked why my English is so good or why I speak so fast – it’s only because it’s almost like my native language!