Despite it being my tenth day of my exchange in Adana, I have yet to settle in and stop making such blundering faux pas. Today was my first attempt at eating out with no-one but a fellow intern. Embarrasingly, I seem to have forgotten all Turkish besides a few essential words, but this was enough to get by. Having a phrase book has proven useful beyond any expectation and without it, I feel lost and usually frustrated becuase I cannot express myself clearly.
With the other AIESECers, however, the oppostite is the case. Surrounded by interns from all over the world, the friendly conversation provides distraction from the constant attention from locals, who stare at us always, especially when in a large group. I’m feeling optimistic that once I have my tan, I will stand out at least a little less.
Summer school work is offering new challenges each day. Because my new class was only three-children big, it has recently been combined with the other class, meaning I’m still strugglng with a few names, but enjoying being referred to by the children as ‘Teacher Nee-cola’. The biggest problem from day to day is the language barrier- who’d have thought you need Turkish to be able to teach English? Luckily, I have teachers who are willing to help me translate. The days are passed by playing laid-back games and activities, in between the impressive and varied sporting schedule the children are treated with.
Outside of work, my Turkish experience is amazing: a concoction of AIESEC meetings, Turkish culture and family life, language lessons and venturing out in and around Adana. Visiting the bar with friends of my host family was a great deal of fun, particularly when attempting to teach the English drinking games (it seems I’m a teacher beyond my work in the summer school!). Although my other experiences of Adana nightlife have been questionable, the city has some breath-taking sights during the day, most of which revolve around the huge lake and Lovers’ Island.
Because Turkey is a 98% Muslim country, I’ve also been learning a considerable amount about Islam. My host family’s relatives presented me with gifts, including an English book explaining the Islam religion. Feeling inspired, my next aim is to visit a Mosque, an experience I have heard is unforgettable.