Gorkem Ozturk passed a semester at EPITA as an exchange student from Gebze Institute of technology in Turkey and he warmly accepted to share his experience with us.
Epita: Why did you choose EPITA?
Gorkem:”I chose EPITA because it’s in Paris. As an exchange student I thought it would be better to study in a capital city, somewhere cosmopolitan, where I could socialize with different people easily, and Paris is certainly the place. It’s also a historical city with lots to see. Before I came here, I asked one of my friends in Turkey who had attended EPITA as an exchange student; she enjoyed her stay here at EPITA and recommended it to me.”
EPITA: What reservations did you have about coming to France and studying at EPITA?
Gorkem: “Going to Paris without any idea about life over there, and living abroad without my family and friends for 5 months. It was a big and scary decision. I was afraid of not being able to communicate with other people or understand the French culture. In Turkey most of the people view French people as arrogant and hard to get along with and that also made me concerned. Another worry was that my English was not fluent at that time, and I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to communicate with people or understand the course work at EPITA.”
Gorkem and his friends
EPITA: What are your feelings regarding your exchange semester in our school?
Gorkem: “It was a very nice life-changing experience, so I am extremely glad that I came here. I met with a lot of people from different countries, and I have made some good friends. I also visited different places in France and ate a lot of interesting foods. Paris has a lot to offer for a tourist and a young person. There are plenty of places to visit, and lots of places to hang out with friends. So this semester really widened my world.”
EPITA: Were you satisfied regarding the welcome and the assistance you received from the staff at the school?
Gorkem: “Yes, I got a lot of assistance from the staff. I didn’t know anything about anything when I first got here, they did their best to help me with any problem that I had. I found the staff very friendly, and I’d like to thank them for their assistance.”
EPITA: For the most part, what has your experience of the exchange program brought to you? What difficulties did you have? What and when was your favorite moment?
Gorkem: “Going abroad and meeting people from other countries really widens your horizon. You begin to understand that there aren’t that many differences between people around the world. You see how they live, what they eat etc. So it helps you to understand the world better. Europe offers a lot of opportunities to travel and see other cultures, and I think I created a network of friends here. I definitely improved my English, and learned a little bit of French, which I hope to improve more once back in Turkey.
It was hard to live in a place full of strangers at first, I didn’t know what to do. That was my main difficulty.
I can’t give you only one favorite moment, because I had a lot. But the times that I visited other cities and had fun with my friends were the highlights of this experience for me.”