Why did you want to study your CLS target language?
I originally became interested in Turkish after learning more about the country and language when watching the 2010 FIBA World Cup, which took place in Istanbul. I quickly became even more interested because of its rich history and geographic diversity.

What are your educational and/or professional goals?
I am currently applying to graduate school to pursue a PhD in Physical Geography or Cartography/GIS. My career goal is to become a professor of geography and continue researching topics related to past and future climate change. I also hope to incorporate Turkey into my geography research!

How do you plan to use your target language in the future?
I would love to be able to use Turkish in future research projects when looking at past climate change and how future climate change may affect various regions, including Turkey.

How did participation in the CLS Program affect your life?
Participating in CLS affected my life because I improved on my Turkish language and communication skills, and I am confident that they will help me find many more opportunities. I also met a lot of great people and now have a network of friends all over the country/world!

What was your favorite part about being in your host country?
I loved being immersed in the language that I had studied for 6 semesters at UW-Madison. I finally had the chance to use the language on a regular basis, and I could really see my language skills progressing! It was also amazing being able to travel and see the cities and experience living in the culture that I had learned about.

What did you learn about your host country that you didn't know before?
I did not know that much about Turkish food before I went to Turkey, so it was a lot of fun trying new dishes and learning about the ingredients and recipes. My favorites included çiğ köfte and mantı—so good!

Please share a short story about your CLS Program experience.
A group of about 8 of us planned a weekend trip to Cappadocia (Kapadokya in Turkish). We got into Cappadocia at 5:30 AM and it was the perfect time because 50-100 hot air balloons had just started taking off before sunrise. It was such a beautiful start to the trip! Cappadocia ended up being one of my favorite cities because I loved seeing my two majors of Geography and Turkish come together since I was able to hike and learn about the unique geographic landscape while improving my Turkish!

What is your favorite target language word or phrase, and what does it mean in English?
One of my favorite words is "Görüşürüz!" which means "See you later." It's a fun word to say and it's one of those words that always made me incredibly happy when I said it in Turkey because it was a small word but for some reason, it always reminded me that I was immersed in the language!

What is a must see or must try in your host city or country?
A must see in Turkey is the region of Cappadocia (Kapadokya in Turkish). Since I'm also a geography major, I really loved seeing my two majors come together because the geographic landscape is incredibly unique and interesting. It's a great place to hike, explore cave houses, and learn about the interesting history. Also, it is a must to stay in a cave hotel!

What advice would you give prospective applicants, participants on the program, and/or recent CLS alumni?
For applicants, I would say that having a clear picture of how you will use the language in your future academic or career goals is incredibly important. If you are chosen as a finalist, my best advice is to accept and do it! I was nervous because I had never been out of the country before, but I am so happy that I took that chance!

Personal background
I was born and raised in Madison, WI and although I had never traveled internationally before CLS, I have always been very interested in learning languages. I speak varying levels of Turkish, French, Azeri, and Spanish. Since one of my majors is geography, I am obsessed with learning about landscapes so traveling throughout Turkey and seeing mountains, salt lakes, and the Black Sea and Mediterranean Sea was a great experience. Finally, I just convinced my twin sister to take Turkish this semester, so now our family has two Turkish speakers! In my free time I love running and watching basketball.