Where are you from?

Izmir, Turkey

What was it like growing up?

We moved a lot due to my father’s work. It was a great experience living in multiple cities in Turkey and Germany when I was a kid. I’ve had wonderful time with my family and relatives growing up. Family relationships were always the most important things in our lives.

What brought you to Cleveland?

Kent State University, I came for my Master’s degree at 2007 and stayed afterwards. I really liked the area and opportunities.

What were your first thoughts about coming to America? Did those change?

I thought it was little different from what I imagined. People were a lot nicer than what I guessed. Although a lot of things in daily life gave me some hard time in the beginning(such as food, paperwork stuff, human relationships), I really loved being in the US. Luckily, I had a lot of Turks around me who helped a lot.

What challenges did you face as an immigrant transitioning here?

Missing family and home. This was my first time away from my family. Some of the bureaucracy, I had to learn myself without being introduced by anyone. One big challenge was being without a car for a month in Winter when I first came. Lack of public transportation(at least very limited) was a shocking fact I found out in the area.

What is your occupation?

Simulation and Desktop Support Analyst at Kent State University College of Nursing. My work is about various simulation technologies and technology infrastructure. I am also working on my PhD in Instructional Technology.

How have other Clevelanders made you feel welcomed?

Excellent, I feel like home here. I can easily say people around here are some of the greatest in the whole world. Clevelanders and Ohioans have a remarkable spirit and pride which is similar to my culture in many ways..

What traditions or customs do you continue to practice?

Meeting Turkish friends for picnics and events

Watching soccer games(Turkish League)

Hosting guests at home with Turkish hospitality

Turkish food in restaurants in the area and home.

Are some of the things I really enjoy.

What do you love about Cleveland?

Great for families and attractions. Cleveland and surrounding areas have excellent schools, hospitals and recreational areas.

Excellent location for getaways to nearby places and shopping. Wonderful people in CLE and NE Ohio. Also pretty multicultural area.

Why is it so important to welcome immigrants and refugees?

Diversity provides great opportunities in building relationships with other cultures. Lots of people in the world are not fortunate as us. Helping others contribute to the reputation of your community and nation in international platform.

Welcoming people with hardship is a valuable opportunity for Cleveland and the United States. I think we can feel a little bit happier when we see people get at least some relief in these hard times, which would make a great example.

Why is it important to travel abroad?

Learning about other cultures and seeing the other parts of the world is pretty exciting.