The AGU International Office met with Omar, the first international student to have joined AGU.
Next year, he will be the University’s very 1st international Graduate.
Let’s read what he has to say about his AGU Student Experience!
1. Tell us a bit about yourself
“My name is Omar. I was born in Tanzania, in a place called Moshi, in the Kilimanjaro province. Every morning I woke up to the sight of this mountain. I completed my primary school there, but part of it also in Kenya.
After graduating from High School, I got accepted to Tanzanian universities, but I learned about scholarships for studying abroad and decided to apply to Turkey. I passed the Interviews and that’s how my Turkish experience started.
When I got accepted for a study scholarship in Turkey, I was hesitant for several reasons. But after discussing with my parents and one of our neighbors who had studied in Turkey in the 1980s and who gave me insights about the country, I decided to try the experience.
It wasn’t an easy decision to make because I was planning to go to University in Tanzania with my high school friends so it was hard to leave everything behind to go to a foreign country, but it paid off.
I completed my Undergraduate Studies (in Konya) and I am now a Master’s student in the AGU Electrical & Computer Engineering Department and will hopefully become the first AGU International Graduate!”
2. How did you become interested in
Electrical and Computer Engineering?
“At first I wanted to become a doctor like my father. I then changed my mind in the advanced level of high school,
when I decided to turn towards Engineering and more specifically the Electrical and Computer fields.”
3. How does it feel to live in Turkey?
“I think it is very easy. When I first arrived, I didn’t know much about the culture, the food; I had trouble with the buses and the streets.
But now I can get by very easily, especially in Kayseri; I know where the markets are and where to find everything I need.
In this city it is very easy to learn the important places you need to know about.“
4. Did you experience any cultural shock?
“When I came to Turkey, a lot of people were staring at me, because of my ethnicity. In the beginning it can be strange when you are not used to it. But now I know that it is just curiosity. When you are new to it, you don’t realize that people are just curious.
Now when there are newcomers from Tanzania, I know that they go through the same thing.
But now I can tell them that it is nothing to take too seriously and I can guide them a little on how to deal with this. “
5. How long did it take you to pick up some good Turkish?
“After 8 months of training, I started to become good enough to be able to study at the university.
When I first started my courses, I was afraid I wouldn’t understand anything in Turkish, and it was a challenge in the first three months of my stay. But after two or three months, we put in some effort and it got better.
But language learning also depends a lot on the person. Some people are really interested in the local culture and language, which makes the learning process easier. One Tanzanian student who was taking the same classes as us learned Turkish a lot quicker and better than we did because he was very interested in every aspect of the Turkish culture. It made a big difference.“
6. Did you travel around Turkey?
“Yes. I travelled a little,
I went to Istanbul, Ankara, Bolu, Konya, etc. and Kayseri of course.
I also plan to go more often to the coast, in places like Izmir for example.”
7. If you had to describe Turkey in one word?
8. What about the weather?
“I was having some trouble with the winter;
you know in Africa, in my country, we don’t really get to experience cold winters.
There is some snow on the Kilimanjaro, but we don’t actually see it snowing in our city. Some of my African friends even had difficulties leaving the house to go to class. But I don’t know if it was because of the cold or because they didn’t want to study…!” 😉
9. Do you go back to Tanzania sometimes?
“When I arrived in Turkey, I didn’t go back for the first year. After I started university, I started going back every year.
Now I’m going back there every summer.”
10. Do you like Kayseri and the Region?
“Yes, I really do, I like it a lot.
I like that it is very easy to get around. It’s not as big as Ankara and Istanbul. Here there is not as much traffic and it’s well organized with the bus and the tram lines.
I like the presence of the mountain. You know I wanted to come here to ski during the three years that I spent in Konya, but I never got the chance. Now that I study here, I went several times already.
Now I can do some moves and jumps with my skis !
I also like going to the malls Kayseri Park and Forum. They are very new and modern.”
I went to Cappadocia during my first year in Turkey. But I would like to go again especially because it is very close to the University.
I look forward to going with the new international students coming in September.“
11. What do you do during your free time?
“Sometimes I ski.
I play a lot of football; with AGU research assistants and students, as well as with students from other universities in Kayseri.
I would like to learn to play tennis. I can see the tennis courts from my bedroom in the dorms and I can see AGU students playing there sometimes.
I often go to the malls (Kayseri Park and Forum) with my friends to watch movies and to play basketball at the arcade.”
12. How did you hear about AGU and what made you choose it?
“There was an AGU poster in Konya and it was the first time I heard about the University.
The information on it was simple and clear, so I decided to go check out the University website.
The fact that courses were 100% in English was very important to me.
After completing my undergraduate studies in Turkish, I really wanted to do my graduate studies in English in a State university.
I also like the idea of studying within a small group of students per class. Professors really have time to focus on each student’s need and progress. At AGU, I also know that there were more chances for me to collaborate with Professors on their projects.
I was also interested in living in Kayseri. I like living in such cities. I now made good friends here.
But the main reason is I think the fact that I got convinced by the AGU “product/concept”. I read a lot online about the University’s approach and its projects and it really convinced me.”
13. How did the application process go?
“It was very fast and easy. I already had all my documents with me. I took the GRE in Ankara.
The online platform sis.agu.edu.tr is very easy to use; you just upload everything onto it.
After that I came to AGU for the interview. It took place in the Language School building. I expected that the professors wouldn’t have time for us and that I would only meet one or two of them, so I was surprised to see seven or eight professors in the room and that they were all there on time.
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