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Young Americans In Istanbul For A Better Grasp Of The Turkish Language

A group of Americam students visited Turkey to better understand the country, its lifestyle and its language as part of a course by the Yunus Emre Institute.

Nimra Muhammad, a student from George Mason University in the U.S., who was in Turkey for almost a month as part of the Turkish language education program by the Yunus Emre Institute, describes Turkish as a kind of musical language that sounds good but is hard to pronounce when it comes to some vowels. "When I first started to learn Turkish it was very difficult to pronounce the vowels in the sentences yet it is not that hard for me to learn since my native language is Urdu. I think that there are similarities between these two languages," said Muhammad.

The Yunus Emre Institute, which is a worldwide nonprofit organization launched by the Turkish government in 2007, gives people around the world a chance to learn Turkish while introducing Turkish culture through activities and programs. The Turkish Summer School Program, with the motto "First Turkish, Then Turkey!" is being held for the 9th time this year. The program is one of the many programs that the institute started in order to provide opportunity to students who want to learn Turkish. Within the program which was held between July 16 and August 12 this year, the Institute hosted 1000 international students from 118 countries, in Turkey.

Scott Kennedy, who earned his Ph.D. from Ohio State University and will be an Assistant Professor of Humanities at Bilkent University in Ankara expressed his feelings about his time and experience during the course, "I started to learn Turkish because I knew I was coming here for a job. I made some really great friends. It's a lot of fun just getting to talk with them even when speaking very broken Turkish over the first few mouths. Being here has been wonderful in terms of exploring all of the different cultural assets, and learning the vocabulary. Language is a gateway to know people."

Turkish Summer School Program not only consists of just Turkish classes. Within the scope of the one-month long program, students from different countries and backgrounds participate in events related to Turkish culture like a traditional Turkish wedding or henna night while taking various courses such as marbling, pottery, traditional Turkish music instruments or folk dances.