We welcomed Ozge Kantas from Turkey to our breakfast meeting on Wednesday.  She is here for this academic year at Armstrong State University and is  one of some fifty students sponsored by the Rotary Clubs of Georgia who will study at the various state Universities this year.  Students come from all over the world for this program, whose objective is to showcase our way of life to young men and women from other countries.  A qualified student must have fluent English, be academically suited, and be able to afford the airfare to and from the US.  The Rotary clubs pay their academic fees and dorm expenses.  In vacation times, host families accommodate them and show them around. Most see many different parts of our country before they return home.

 

Our student,Ozge,talked to us about her life in Turkey and showed us a wonderful panorama of Turkey as a presentation.  She was born in Greece and raised in Izmin,Turkey. Her mother was a biology teacher and her father, now retired, owned a company. She has three siblings, started out with an interest in painting, went to Rome and to Japan - we saw a lovely picture of her in traditional dress - and attended the Middle East Technical University in Ankara. This is a University with a high international reputation, specializing in engineering and the natural sciences.

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Turkey, she told us, is a beautiful country with many problems. It has 77 million people in 783,000 square miles. It is not European, not Asian, of mixed religions, bordering the Mediterranean, the Aegean, and the Black Sea, with a tumultuous history.  Ozge showed us the various regions of the country and pictures of many cities and towns, Smyrna, Cosme, Candarli, Ephesus, Bodrum, Istanbul, Antalya, Troy (with a model of the Trojan horse), and Hattusas. Her many photographs showed us details of her family summer home, ancient ruins, religious symbols, old castles, decorative insides of churches, a monastery built into a vertical hillside, and more. She showed us arrays of foods, kebabs, desserts, teas, Turkish coffees, all delicious, some familiar, some not. All in all a most fascinating place.....we're invited, she said.

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