Hi, I am Şeyma Kadayıfçi, I’m 21 years old, originally from Turkey. I came to Germany for 3 months to participate in the Erasmus Mundus programme.
What did you like the most about Germany?
The nature, there is so much natural beauty in Germany compared to Turkey. It’s so green (laughing-ed). Also, the Germans are so kind and polite. They are always ready to help when asked. But it is also difficult if you do not know the language. I once lost the key to my room in the guest house I was living in and it was difficult for me to explain, I could not use my phone to translate, so it was hard. Most people do speak English though.
What surprises you most about the German culture?
It’s so different (laughing-ed) , yet not surprising. What I found most surprising was the concept of relations. In Turkey children are connected with their parents. In Germany, children do not always live with parents. After a certain age, the parents and their kids live separately. Kids move to different cities, so they can learn to live alone and learn how to lead a life. In Turkey, children live with their parents until they are married and even after. So for me it was surprising to see the different family culture.
Do you feel integrated into the German society?
I did not feel integrated nor did I feel like a foreigner. I met a lot of Turkish people, so I felt good. I also made good friends here. The Turkish people are very friendly and talkative. Germans are very reserved and conversations are limited to “hi-bye”! Once they get to know you, they do hang out with you.
What’s the food you enjoyed the most here?
German desserts… (smiles-ed.). The cakes are so delicious. I also tasted shark meat here for the first time! It was tasty. My friends asked me to try smoked shark meat and I did! I must say, I liked it! (laughing-ed.).
What did you think of Germany before you came here? Has your opinion changed?
I was told that it would be hard to stay, and that people are not very friendly. When I came here, it did not feel that way at all. I found the people to be very approachable.
Share something you have just learnt in Germany?
I learnt to trust people. I was living with strangers and they were very nice people. I was travelling with people whom I never met before. I could never do that in Turkey, living with complete strangers. Also, I learnt about different cultures: Indian, Columbian and Spanish…
Would you like to come back again?
Yes, yes (smiles-ed.) I miss it a lot already. If I had a green passport, I would come right away.
How was your experience in Jena?
Oh, I love Jena. I got to know so many people. If I come back to Germany, I would like to stay in Jena or in another small city. In Jena, I met one person who introduced me to few more people, and they would do the same. In this way I got to know so many people. I love Jena! 😉
By Madhuri – our collaborator in Freiburg.