Words of Wisdom from our Turkish Exchange Student


Photo by Robyn Brown

Sinem showing off the Turkish flag.

Sinem Yildiz, Guest Writer/Exchange Student from Turkey

Hello! I’m Sinem and I’m a senior in here Doherty. I’m an exchange student from Turkey. Today, I want to talk about the differences between American high schools and Turkish high schools. Two different culture.. it’s just like two different worlds!

Firstly, in Turkey, we have 8 periods in a day. Different schedule for each day. School starts at 8:30 and ends at 3:40 also, we don’t have any late start. Each class approximately 40 minutes and the break is 10 minutes. After 4th period, we have lunch which is 40 minutes. By the way, you can not go out unless your parents are there. So, you have to stay at school in lunch. 

In here, every teacher has their own class. But in Turkey, students have the class which means in breaks, teacher has to change the class, not the student. Students change classes for finals sometimes. And no one can use note cards for finals. It’s such an opportunity that you guys can use your notes! By this way, I think Turkish high school’s finals are harder. 

I love the diverse students in classes in America! You can meet with anyone with any grade. We don’t have that in Turkey. Because you have the class, you are always with the same group of people and they are all in your grade. 

We can choose our classes after sophomore year but until then, everyone needs to take basic classes. By the way, we don’t have all these fun classes you guys have. In America, I realized that you can start your academic studies even before college.

Sinem in Garden of the Gods Park, one of the most famous tourist spots in Colorado.

Our senior year is mostly going with studying our college test, what is called “YGS”. Every student who wants to go to college has to take this test. It’s a really stressful test for every student. By the way, we have public colleges that you don’t have to pay at all. Anyway, after you got your score, you have to make a list and they announce your university after weeks. So basically, you don’t have to apply every college like here.

I need to mention the school spirit!! Doherty does awesome job in that. In Turkey, most of the school does not have the school spirit. We don’t have homecoming, cheerleaders, movie nights, choir concerts, winter dance, spirit weeks or prom. I know, it sounds boring but we have spring celebrations and band concerts. And I need to add that you guys, have lots of holidays! We have national holidays in Turkey, but still y’ll have more off-days. 

I remember my first football game. I’ve never seen that support-full audience before! In conclusion, I think American high schools are funnier than Turkish high schools. The only thing I found odd is students are not respectful to teachers in here. Talking, taking attitude, eating food during the class, chewing or popping gum.. you can’t do any of these stuff in a Turkish classroom. All students have to show their respect to the teacher. Please don’t forget that: they have the wisdom, and we’re going to school to learn from them..