You’re probably here asking yourself: Why the heck would Ayni decide to go to Turkey?! Well, you may be surprised to learn this isn’t a suicide mission, and no I’m not going in search of a Turkish husband. Allow me to fill you in on my reasoning behind this crazy choice I’ve made.
Prior to graduating from the University of Oregon in December 2012, I spent the last term of college gaining real-life experience through a PR internship at a marketing agency in Portland. While this experience was beneficial beyond words and reaffirmed my passion for public relations, it also led me to discover I had been bitten by the travel bug.
In the months leading up to graduation, I had recurring dreams of strolling along the Great Wall of China, snorkeling in Central America and interacting with the locals in the slums of India. These dreams were so colorful and vivid, I had to remind myself I hadn’t actually traveled to these places.
Realizing I had missed the opportunity to study abroad as an undergrad, I began researching post-graduation options. One of the many options that piqued my interest was Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), which is a certification course that allows college graduates to teach virtually anywhere in the world while earning enough money to sustain themselves.
In a matter of days I spoke with three friends who were TEFL certified and shared with me their experiences in Spain, South Korea and Thailand. The excitement in their voices and richness of their stories made me envy their experiences and quickly led me to the decision to teach English abroad. In no time at all, I spoke with an advisor and registered for a course in Istanbul, where the opportunities for English teachers are endless.
I’ll take a quick step back and add that a part of my reasoning in choosing Turkey has to do with the fact that one of my very best girl friends has been studying abroad in Istanbul since August of last year and has fallen in love with the city. When I mentioned to her I was thinking about relocating to Turkey, she insisted that we live together while I’m there, and that was that.
Here’s my plan: I set off for Istanbul from Orange County, Calif., on Feb. 21. I begin my four-week certification course on Feb. 25 and will start working shortly after completing the class. In order to obtain a work visa, I must sign a year contract, which sets my return date for March 2014! Turkey’s central location will make weekend trips to the Mediterranean and the rest of Western Europe a breeze, so stay tuned for these adventures.
I won’t have a phone while abroad, but I would love to stay in touch with everyone, so please don’t hesitate to reach out to me via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Skype (username: hailayn). Talk with you soon!
(To read about my previous adventure in Europe, visit http://hailayn.wordpress.com)