Meet Metehan! He is one of my Turkish friends here in Istanbul. Read more to learn about daily life in Turkey!
Metehan is a good friend of mine in Turkey. He is twenty-one years old and has the best laugh in the world. He was born in Istanbul, Turkey in a small neighborhood called Haciosman, which is always bustling with tourists and locals. Metehan and I go to Koc University together and he is my student mentor for my semester abroad. Our program pairs us up with Turkish students to help us adjust to life in a culture that is very different from our own. He has helped me with everything from buying a Turkish phone to finding the best place to eat in town. He speaks fluent Turkish and English. I got a chance to sit down and talk with Metehan despite his incredibly busy schedule.
He is an economics major and has been working very hard to do well in school. Not everyone in Turkey gets to go to college, let a lone high school so he is very proud of his determination to achieve his goals. Metehan has a sister named Ebru who he loves to talk about because they are very similar. She is two years younger than Metehan.
He was really excited when I asked him to do this interview because he really loves Turkey and he can’t wait to travel the world. We sat down in our student center and ate lunch at PideBan, our favorite place to grab traditional Turkish food. Our interview was in English and even though he has never been to the United States, his pronunciation is almost flawless. He is one of my biggest role models and has one of the most positive attitudes of anyone I have ever met. I hope you enjoy listening to Metehan’s story as much as I did!
What is daily life like?
I asked Metehan this simple question: “What does your daily life look like?” It was broad but we narrowed it down as we continued to talk.
He spends a lot of time on campus even though his dad has a house close to school. “I like getting enough sleep to feel vibrant the next day, but it’s kind of hard. There’s always work to do but I can never say no to hanging out with my friends.” Sleep is hard to find in a city like Istanbul when there is always something to do and friends to hang out with.
However, unlike most youth in Turkey, in addition to just hanging out, Metehan works at his job as a DJ for the Koc University radio station.
His home life is typical for families in Turkey, but unusual for most of the families I knew growing up. Metehan and his parents and sister all live separately. In Turkey, there are not many great schools and so people will move in order to be closer to good schools. When Metehan’s sister Ebru began high school, both she and her mother moved hours away so that she could go to the best school. Even though Metehan was sad about it, he understood that moving is something that they had to do. “I don’t like going home because my mom is away with my little sister and my dad doesn’t like to cook so school is my new home,” he said. The town of Sariyer is too small for him. “The only part I like is that I have a perfect view of the Bosphorus every day.” I agreed with him. There is something so beautiful about waking up to a breath taking view every morning!
What is your full name? Metehan Tekinirk
Where do you live? “I live on campus at Koc during the school year but at my dad’s house in Haciosman in the summer.”
What is your house like? “It’s small. I don’t really like it because my mom’s not around because she’s with my sister at school. I’m usually at my friends house when I’m not working.”
What is your family like? “My sister is so much fun to be around. She’s pretty much like me: she enjoys the same type of movies and music as I do. My dad is kind of silent because he’s tired and stressed out because of work.” He then laughed and added, “Shout-out to my mom who is probably the nicest person on planet earth.”
How do you get around? “My friend has a car so we always drive into Taksim on the weekends. I take the dolmus if I need to go to Sariyer though. It’s so easy but its way too crowded for me.”
What types of clothing do you like to wear? “I guess my regular outfit would be jeans and a t-shirt, but mostly v-necks. I don’t really like dressing up too much unless it’s a special occasion. I kind of like being casual so I love wearing shorts and walking around with my hood up. Its windy here too so the hood is all I need.”
What language(s) do you speak? “Turkish obviously,” he laughed and continued, “ But I speak English here all the time and I know how to say a few words in Chinese.”
How do you say “Hello” in your language? “Merhaba or if I’m saying ‘what’s up’ to a good friend I’ll say efendim.”
Do you have pets? “No my parents never had pets when we were younger because you really can’t if you’re a Muslim. It’s not really allowed in our religion”
Have you traveled? “I have been to London, Paris, Germany, Los Angeles and Beijing. I really want to go to Amsterdam, Cuba, Jamaica and Los Angeles as soon as possible.”
What do you do for work? “I’m a DJ for Koc at nights on Tuesdays. Usually we play Rap and Hip Hop all night because my friends are all listening. Plus they’re the best songs in Istanbul!”
Is there anything else you would like to say to students in the United States? “Never take an opportunity for granted. I’ve been working hard all of my life and one day I know I’ll be really proud of all the work I put in to be successful. Just keep working, guys. You can get through anything.”