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Monday, May 26, 2014

Jennifer- Ankara- Week 3


Work

Last week was a relaxing week because we had a 2 day work week which consisted of conversation classes with the students. I have learned to be flexible with my lessons plan because each class of students is different from the others. The main goal of the conversation class is for Turkish students to practice speaking in English. Usually in class there are two or three students who speak while the others listen, pretend to listen, or don't listen. I have realized it's not because the students don't want to learn english, but everyone is at different levels and some are not confident in their speaking abilities. Originally I had planned to do debates in the classes this week to encourage more students to speak. The debates went well in 3 out of the 5 classes, but the other 2 we played pictionary and just talked. The students here are really interested in how Turkey is perceived around the world. A common question is for them to ask me what I thought of Turkey before I came here. So I began asking them questions in class like, "If you were to describe Turkey to students abroad, what would you say?" It has been meaningful to learn more about Turkish culture and the frustration some students have about other countries' perception of Turkey.

The after school clubs went better last week because more students knew about them, so we had a higher turn-out. There was a "social-club" where students come to talk with us and play board games. Our supervisor, Ebru, wants us to interact with students outside of the classroom because that is where their English conversations skills actually develop. Today we are proofreading a translated document for TOBB. This next week will be our last week of conversation classes because the next month students will be preparing for the TOEFFL exam that determines whether or not their english proficiency is enough to start studying in their department(major).


Mediterranean Sea at sunset
Antalya

This past weekend we went to Antalya which is in southern Turkey, close to the Mediterranean Sea. This has been my favorite trip yet! It was really relaxing to be on the beach and the first day we got there the weather was perfect. The landscape was amazing, there were mountains right next to the sea that were visible from the beach. Everything was so peaceful and beautiful, I definitely would love to go visit there again. The town reminded me of Florida in a way, because it was a popular resort area and many tourists were there from all over the world to visit. Eric and I took the overnight bus on Wednesday night so we were able to spend all of Thursday in Antalya. We met two Turks: Alper and Tuğce who were two of the nicest people I have met. They were both university students and Alper used to work at Starbucks so I knew we would get along instantly! They made us Turkish breakfast and helped us a lot with traveling within Antalya. The six of us met up Thursday night, had dinner, and explored downtown Antalya, Kaleiçi, where our pension was. Friday morning Lilly, Katrina, and I woke up early to go to breakfast. I've learned to love the Turkish breakfast here so I always try to find that if possible. Friday the weather was okay and we went to the beach for a little after it rained, then we had a delicious seafood meal next to the sea. We also found this wonderful bakery that made these delicious pastries that were also super cheap!
Düden Waterfalls. 
On Saturday Eric and I went to explore Aspendos which had the ruins of an ancient Greek and Roman city. The others went to a cool beach in another part of Antalya. Unfortunately the theater was closed until June, but we hiked around the ruins and were able to get a really cool view of the theater from above. Exploring the ruins was really fun because we were also able to hike on the mountains, but while we were hiking we saw a snake and ran off of the mountain. The bus system is really interesting because the busses stop and pick up people from the side of the road and will wait for people who are running. I love this because it is a huge step up from the Bursley-baits busses at Michigan. Afterwards, we went to the Düden waterfalls which were beautiful. 

Everytime we go to a new city I am so grateful for the people we meet and the sights we are able to see. Turkey truly is such a diverse country and every city is different from another. Sometimes I forget that I'm still in Turkey because the cities seem so different I feel like I could be in another country! I am so excited to keep exploring Turkey, discovering other sites, and meeting more people from all over the country!  
 
Konyaalti Beach
Top of Aspendos theater




Dinner by the sea

Basilica


Aspendos Theater
Düden Waterfalls. 




The locals told us the apricots were poisonous, but Eric climbed
the tree and ate one to see for himself.

1 comment:

  1. Jennifer,

    The conversation classes sounds like they are going really well. You are being extremely flexible which I'm sure is benefiting the students. As you said, they are at all different levels, so you have to meet them where they are at. Otherwise, they experience frustration and make little, if no, progress. When the conversation classes end and the students prepare for the test, what do you do? Do you teach lessons of some sort? If you asked me the question about what I think of Turkey, I really wouldn't have much to say because, before reading these blogs, I really knew nothing about the country.

    I love what you said about forgetting that you were staying in Turkey (because the cities are so different). I felt the same way when I was reading your posts and looking at your pictures. It seems to me like you're really traveling the world. The waterfalls are absolutely stunning! It makes me that laugh that you find it surprising that the buses actually wait for people- that is a big leap from the "cut-throat" transportation here in Ann Arbor.

    Thank you for posting (and labeling your post with the week #)! I look forward to reading about your next adventure.

    Best,
    Tammy

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