Home Cooked Turkish Meal


For the first time this week, there was no traffic in the morning. Our first meeting was at Kimse Yok Mu, and I loved them! Why? They had breakfast ready for us! I was very lucky since I did not have time to eat breakfast this morning. We arrived, they gave a brief introduction, followed by questions. Afterwards, they gave us a tour of their facility where they had an earthquake simulator. We each took turns on the simulator, I believe it was at a magnitude of 8. While the simulator was fun, in reality earthquakes of this magnitude are devastating. I couldn’t help but think of the victims affected by the earthquake in Nepal. Fun Fact: Kimse Yok Mu literally translates to “Is anyone there?” .

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After Kimse Yok Mu, we headed out to Deniz Feneri. Traffic was horrible, as always in Istanbul, and it took us 2 hours to get to our destination. However, on the way to Deniz Feneri, there was a bus in front of us carrying one of Istanbul’s soccer teams called Zonguldarspor. It was a bunch of guys who seemed very excited to see girls on the bus. We all decided that we would try to get free tickets to a soccer game, so we tried to exchange information by writing in big letters on a paper our Turkey GSU Gmail, however, the guys did not understand the email. They actually ended up pulling over on the highway to talk to us and exchange information. Unfortunately for them, our bus driver kept driving by. It was really funny and everyone on the bus was laughing hysterically. We all needed something to lighten up the mood and make traffic fun!


After our meeting with Deniz Feneri, our travel agent told us that there are two families who would love to host us for dinner. I was super excited about the idea of going to a family’s home and enjoying a Turkish home cooked meal. There is something special about interacting with the locals when you travel. It makes you feel closer to the city and the culture. When I travel, I usually love walking up to locals and engaging in conversation and getting to know their routine and daily lives. However, in Turkey, I have been feeling a little lost since I did not speak the language. Therefore, this was a great opportunity for me to interact with Turkish culture and taste food I would not be able to eat on the streets. The food was amazing! The recipes came for Bursa, where Dr. Olcal’s wife (our host) comes from, as well as food from Antep, where Dr. Olcal is from.


One thing that stood out that evening was Dr. Olcal’s daughter. The family is actually moving to Atlanta in the summer, and his daughter reminded me of myself when I first moved to the U.S. I was the same age as her (eleven years old) and I remember it being a very difficult transition. Fortunately for her, her English is good and I hope she will not have as much trouble in school as I did. Needless to say, I hope to meet them again in Atlanta and host them at my house, and get to see his daughter again.


This website is simply a classroom project that uses a conventional study abroad trip, student talent, and faculty expertise to fill an important information gap concerning Turkish politics and the Syrian crisis. Overseen by faculty mentors Dr. Abbas Barzegar and Dr. Rashid Naim of Georgia State University, advanced graduate students and undergraduates from various disciplines were placed in small working groups tasked with explore key subject areas. They did this by conducting research before their trip and interviewing experts. During their three-week trip they continued this process as they visited NGOs, think tanks, and cultural sites. Every day they documented their experiences through the content material that can be found on this site. See this brief article about the project for more information.





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