Cihan studies social work at the Hacettepe university in Ankara, Turkey, and spend the summer term 2013 as a student and intern at ASH Berlin. 

Cihan, you are originally from Turkey, what is your home university and what do you study there?

I was born in Erzincan, but I've been living in Ankara for five years now. My home university is Hacettepe University and I study Social Work.

What do you study at ASH Berlin?

I study Social Work.

Do you like it here at ASH Berlin?

Yes, it's good. I have the impression that studying here is more independent. There are not too many obligations for students. A good idea are the 'all gender toilets'. There are toilets for men and women but also some open for all gender. I find that really interesting.

What do you like less at ASH Berlin?

When I applied, I imagined that it would be a big university with many green areas like my home university, but then I came here and it is very small. Also, in the beginning, there is quite a bit of paperwork to do for ERASMUS students.

Where do you see differences between ASH Berlin and your home university?

ASH is more flexible when it comes to paperwork, for example the International Office accepts scanned documents. My university is much bigger with more departments. It's good that the Social Work department and the International Office here work together, and because it is so small the connection between the Departmental and the Institutional Coordinator seem to be closer. The studied topics are mostly the same, but in contrast to ASH Berlin we have participation lists in the courses at Hacettepe University.

Why did you choose ASH Berlin for your exchange programme and why Berlin?

It was my first choice because in my research I found out that ASH was the first school for Social Work in Europe. But I hesitated because there is also a big Turkish community in Berlin, so I thought that I might not have to learn German. Then I got in contact with a University in Sweden but they could not find a placement for me, so I came back to my first choice ASH in Berlin. I also see a historical relationship between Turkey and Germany. I think the countries are close to each other and I also have relatives in Germany.

Did you get in contact with regular students from ASH Berlin?

I am attending two classes at ASH and I am doing my internship in an institution in Berlin. I have some friends in the courses and got to know some people through the buddy system.

How did you experience the contact between lecturers and students?

One class I am attending is in Turkish and I think the contact between the lecturer and the students is very close. My two lecturers are very friendly and flexible with the students.

What kind of cultural events did you experience in Berlin?

I joined the 1st of May in Kreuzberg and I can really recommend it. Sadly I missed the Carnival of Cultures but I heard it was a lot of fun.

Do you have any suggestions for someone who is new at the university or in Berlin?

It was hard for me to find an institution for my internship in Germany so make sure to start as early as possible. Inform yourself about possible tickets for public transportation when you arrive before the semester starts. There are month-cards from BVG. I spent too much money for day- and week-cards until I noticed that. Transportation here is good, you cannot get lost. Try to make a lot of friends and go to pubs and parks and drink German beer, because it is much cheaper here than in Turkey. And don't expect too much sunny and warm weather!