An interview with Ebru Ozkurt from Turkey, who plans to earn advanced degrees in Psychology, studied intensive English at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.
Why did you decide to study in America?
The USA is the best in my field and I want to get my master's here.
How did you choose your intensive English program?
First of all, this program is intensive in writing, reading and doing presentations skills just like a graduate programs. The other factor is the location of course. We take classes on the campus and we are able to meet and talk with native Americans.
I need some skills to use in a master's program like preparing a presentation or searching and reading articles. There is a lot of homework and they are not just a worksheet. We need to search, study and really put a lot of effort into them. When I decided to come this program, the most important point was how many Turkish students there are. My relative who recommended me this program told me that there was one other Turkish student, and I haven't even seen her because our buildings and classes were in different places. That was very good to hear because I want to practice English. I don't want to hear and speak Turkish in the U.S.A.
What do you like best?
I like having an American speaking partner, having assignments and studying like I’m in an undergraduate or graduate program. The Georgetown program is very serious and strict. I like it so much because I always feel that I need to study more and more.
What do you miss most about home?
>I miss my food like a real cooked meal.
How has your English improved?
My English has improved a lot in reading and writing skills because I always do assignments about these skills. This program helped me to prepare presentations, to search, read and write essays.
What was your biggest surprise?
People say hi, good morning, how are you? They start talking with you without knowing you. Now I start to speak with people that I don't know. It is good change in my life.
... your biggest disappointment?
I was expecting to be able to speak more fluently and better than I can speak now. We speak with other students like me from EFL so we make mistakes and we don't notice that those are mistakes.
How have you handled:
I have handled language differences by watching many movies and trying to speak and make friends who don't speak my own language.
Life, and food are expensive even on the campus.
...Adjusting to a different educational system?
I keep doing my assignments on time and attending classes, listening carefully and in time, I adjusted.
What are your activities?
My activities are sports, trips and some special activities like going to movies and having meetings sponsored by Intensive English Program.
How easy or difficult is making friends?
It is easy to make friends, they are very friendly and warm. Americans talk with everyone everywhere.
How is your U.S. education relevant to your personal goals and to the needs of your country?
A U.S. education is very good for my personal goals because the education system is so strict, students always study not just for their exam. They search, read and have an idea and discuss about the subjects so it is an interaction system which I like very much.
What is your advice to other students?
They should choose the USA for making more friends and practicing English because Americans are so friendly and talkative. The American education system is more interactive and their teaching methods are more useful. It's not about memorization. I advise them to choose a school which has a limit for students from the same country.