This week I have began school. With the school year, a whole new set of problems is presented. The first day was something else. Awful really, actually. They had the national news there and I was shoved around with officals, forced to pose for photos, and even was interveiwed IN TUKISH! haha. The school put on a dance show for us and everything. Im a pretty big deal here because I am the 2nd exchange student they have ever had. If there wasnt a big sign around my head saying new kid already- there was certianly by the end of the day. It was all terribly mortifying. Up there with some of my worst moments. The next day I plainly did not want to go. I found myself doing something I never thought I would- missing East High!
In my desperation I talked to my brother, and he said something that really stuck. Being here is my chance to not only learn about Turkish culture, learn a new language etc, but to learn what is most important to me. A oppurtunity for personal revelation. He also said it is a chance to learn who I am really am. When you remove your school, your friends, and your family, all things we rely on to define us, you are left with you, in the purest form. Im looking forward to these lessons- and have actually already experienced a good amount of them. He ended the conversation with go get the world. Thats exactly what Im going to do- go get the world!
Each day I go to school and it gets a little better. Im actually begining to really enjoy it. I already have a great group of friends. Everyone has been extremely nice and welcoming. They love helping me with my turkish, and Ive even gone out with them a few times. We go to cafes along the sea and have coffee and play scrabble. hahah, it really helps me learn more Turkish vocabulary.
As far as education in Turkey compared to in America- First of all you chose a focus. If you chose forgien language, you take almost all forgien language classes. Same goes for math, science, etc. Then you have a class that have your same focus. Your class has one room, and your teachers come to you. You stay together all through high school. This week I do not have a class, so I have just been going to the forgien language one. 11-H. We only have 7 students, but most classes have about 30. The teachers teach in a very lecture style. They just come in- talk for 40 minutes, and then leave. No homework as far as I can tell, your just expected to go home and study on your own until you understand. At the end of high school there is an exam called the ÖSS. This decides what and if you go to college. Its pretty much like dooms day, and the older you get, the more you study. Most 12th graders go to school after school and on saturdays and sundays too, to prepare. On Mondays and Tuesdays we have schooll until 430, but the rest of the days 330. Our lunch is an hour long. Unlike the US, where if your teacher cant come, you have a sub, here you have free lesson. Or basicly time to go or do whatever you want. This week our teachers have been really busy with this European Union school sharing project that I was a part of on the first day, so we almost never have lessons. Maybe 2 out of the 8 or 9 you would usually have. Today we went down town for lunch and shopping because we had no lessons. Also when I have a free lesson I can go to the art room. One thing I love about this school,in comparision to East, is the Art program. The art teacher here is GREAT, and is allowing me to come work in the room on oil paintings etc, whenever I want.
Im adapting and finally getting moved in and making friends and improving with Turkish, still I miss you all like crazy.
You are all in my thoughts, Amber.