Category Archives: My Travels

Ankara Fair a Success

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Today, I participated in a five-hour fair in Ankara, Turkey. It went very well!

The turnout was higher than at the first two cities–including Istanbul, surprisingly enough; however, the traffic was not so overwhelming that we lost the ability to have quality conversations with the potential students.

What I liked the most about the fair was the range of academic interests of the students who attended. Half of the people we spoke with wanted graduate programs, a quarter of them wanted undergrad degrees, and the last quarter wanted ESL.

There was also terrific variety among the people who wanted graduate degrees. While we were asked about the usual degree programs (i.e., MBA, Engineering), several other degrees were in demand, including MA-TESOL, Computer Science, Exercise Science, Urban Affairs and Public Policy, International Relations, and even one of our dual degree programs. It was fun to be able to highlight the variety of degrees offered at the University of Delaware. We felt quite proud about that fact.

Interestingly enough, the majority of the people we spoke with today, whether for undergrad or graduate, would have to be conditionally admitted to the university due to their basic- to intermediate-level English skills. Most of this group would need around 6-8 months of study, as well. In my opinion, in situations like that, everyone wins–especially the students, since we give them the confidence and the skills to communicate intelligently in academic settings before they begin their university studies.

Three cities down, one more to go: I’m off to Izmir tomorrow.

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Impressions of an Istanbul student fair

I’ve been attending a fair series in Turkey which involves stops in Antalya, Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir. Last weekend, we had a two-day fair in Istanbul, and this afternoon I am heading to Ankara.

The fair experience has been interesting so far, particularly in Istanbul. It’s almost as if there were “themes” for each day. For example, on Saturday, we met with many potential students who are hoping to do graduate degrees in the US (and conditional admissions at the graduate level). They came to the fair without their parents, and discussed all aspects of the programs, the application process, funding opportunities, etc.

Sunday, however, was completely different. It was as if it was “ESL day.” The majority of the people who spoke with us wanted an intensive English program, for periods of time ranging from 2 months to 1 year. They also came with their parents, and, in several cases, parents came to inquire about our programs without having their children present! It was a very interesting mix.

I also found that these fairs do not follow the typical model that I have seen elsewhere in the world. Turks haven’t been coming to these fairs in huge numbers so far; however, we were able to take advantage of the slower traffic to actually sit and talk with them for 5-10 minutes at a time. That is something that I haven’t been able to do in some of the larger fair formats that I typically attend. I rather enjoyed it. Plus, it was nice to have a quieter format that didn’t make me lose my voice, for once!

There are two more cities on this fair tour: Ankara and Izmir. I’ll be heading to Ankara today. I’m interested in seeing how the next two fairs will compare to the first two events.

First Trip to Turkey: Antalya

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I came to Turkey a few days ago to participate in the a2 International Education Fairs in Antalya, Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir. My first stop is Antalya, and I arrived the day before yesterday.

No wonder that Turks are so proud of their heritage. Before coming to Turkey, all I knew of this country were the things that my students have shown me: beautiful people, a melodic language, soothing music, and, of course, Turkish Delight! (Speaking of which, I have got to get my hands on some before I return to the States.)

Now, I have only been in Antalya for a couple of days and I haven’t seen much, but I have thoroughly enjoyed it so far.

This city is absolutely beautiful, and quite pristine. They keep it very clean, as though everyone takes real pride in their surroundings.

It is an old city and has several historic areas. Last night, after the fair, my colleague and I visited Hadrian’s Gate. It is pretty old, and therefore has sections that are starting to crumble, but the people seem to be doing what they can to preserve it. They have added some metal support structures and fenced it off, which, hopefully, will provide some protection for years to come.

That area boasts many boutiques and restaurants. We picked up a few gifts for home, bargaining with the store owners who were absolutely charming. I got a discount of 5 Lira by giving the store owner a kiss on the cheek! LOL It was a hilarious experience, and I am sure that those gentlemen make a very good living by being so friendly and charming.

After that, we walked around for a bit, enjoying the gorgeous coastal views of Antalya. Then we went to a restaurant and had some terrific Turkish food. We shared a “kebab” plate of a variety of meats with flatbread and tzatziki sauce, which was amazing. We also had a terrific lentil soup. We finished it off with a typical dessert (I can’t remember the name, but it is like a shredded pastry that is compacted together–very good and egg-free!). Overall, we ate very well and enjoyed the attentive service and nice conversation of the gentlemen who work in the restaurant.

Overall, I like Antalya and hope to come here again to enjoy its beautiful views, amazing foods, and charming people!