Merhaba, nasılsınız bu müthiş günde? The Turkish language has a special melody and rhythm to it, enchanting most of those who can get over a few hurdles along the way – this sentence translates as “Hello, how are you on this splendid day?”
People of Rwanda seem to agree with that sentiment as hundreds of students have signed up to learn Turkish through Turkey's Yunus Emre Institute which started its in-person lessons in the capital Kigali.
Since opening its offices in Rwanda earlier this year, the institute has been unable to offer in-person classes due to COVID-19 restrictions.
However, the response to its online courses was highly encouraging, with some 150 students signing up for the opportunity.
Around 200 students have enrolled for in-person classes that started last week at the University of Rwanda, according to Enes Karaçoban, a Turkish teacher working with the institute.
“We are offering two classes at our premises located at the university’s Gikondo campus in the capital Kigali. One class is during the day and the other in the evening,” he told Anadolu Agency (AA).
“About 75% of the applicants are university students and the rest are working professionals. They are from different countries, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan, Tunisia, Comoros and Burundi.”
The Yunus Emre Institute held an event to kick off the classes in Kigali, which was attended by dignitaries including Turkey’s Ambassador to Rwanda Burcu Çevik.
In her address, the envoy expressed her delight at the number of students keen to learn the Turkish language.
She also announced that Turkey’s Maarif Foundation plans to set up a vocational school in Rwanda.
Hassan Mbarushimina, a Rwandan who returned home after studying in Turkey, shared information about the country in a presentation at the event, accompanied by a video showcasing the beautiful sights of Turkey.
Anne Marie Kagwasage, head of the language enhancement department at the University of Rwanda, urged all students to take the Turkish language courses seriously to get the maximum benefit from the opportunity.
Karaçoban said it was exciting to see the growing number of people who want to learn the Turkish language and have an interest in the country’s culture.
He added that the Yunus Emre Institute is also working to give people in Rwanda a glimpse into Turkish culture by organizing activities such as movie screenings, discussions and food tasting events.