Turkey is NOT Just Here at Thanksgiving

Exchange Student Joins West Geauga for Semester 1


For the 2018 – 19 school year West Geauga High School welcomed a student from Turkey.  We’d like to introduce Zeynep Pamuk who is in grade 11. She came to America two months ago and is being hosted by the Alabasi family (Hayden, Kim, Nura and Layla). For Zeynep it was not hard to find friends at school initially, all thanks to her host sister, Nura “Thanks to Nura, it is very easy to make friends. I am so glad that everybody is kind and friendly in West G. Starting the conversation might seem hard but I have so many friends now.”

Zeynep was attracted to foreign exchange education through her friends and her very own curiosity of foreign countries.  Back home the high school that she attends is called FMV Ozel Erenkoy Isuk Fen High School and it is a private science high school. One difference between West Geauga and her school back home is that, “In my school, all of the classes are mandatory. We have to take this very important exam to go to college, so we focus on our grades more than sports and activities.”

Despite having all that focus on grades in her native school, outside activities for Zeynep include dancing and playing the flute. She also enjoy going to concerts, dancing, traveling and taking photos. In her free time she watches Netflix, goes shopping and likes to try new ice cream places.  When asked if it was hard to learn English, she replied, “Nope, my teachers are great.” Zeynep wanted to come to America to because it has a different education system and wanted to see if Americans movies are accurate or not.

Fear was not something that Zeynep was concerned about. “I wasn’t scared because I love doing things on my own and I knew it would be a great opportunity for me to come to America, alone.” Her big goal for this school year is to truly experience American culture. She considers it a positive quality that the West Geauga staff  have shown Zeynep kindness and that the teachers have been so helpful and great. She said they know a lot about exchange students and she is so glad for that.

She is most excited about learning new things this school year. Her favorite American food is Mac n Cheese and something different about Zeynep’s life is that both of her parents are atheists, so she was raised as an atheists in a very conservative country and religious culture.

She will be here until January, so if you have not met Zeynep, you still have time to stop by and say, “Merhaba,” (that’s “Hello” in Turkish) and let her brighten your day.