Erzurum, an eastern city located near the Turkish border with Iran, is seeing an influx of Iranian university students nowadays thanks to a unique program it offers. The Atatürk University of Erzurum is among six universities qualified to host the Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic), an English proficiency exam for university students recognized by Asian countries and Australia.
Taking buses to Erzurum from the border, Iranian youth sit for the three-hour exam at the university. The university's Education and Application Center (ATAUSEM) organizes the exam twice a week under strict security measures. After passport and fingerprint checks, students are taken into rooms furnished with security cameras and sit for the exams at the computer terminals where they answer questions on reading, listening and writing.
Cengiz Akdağ, who heads the university's department organizing foreign language exams, says they see great interest from Iran for the PTE Academic. He says the exam is required for academic studies or applying to universities across the world, as well as applications for migration abroad and to work on commercial vessels in international waters. He adds that some 150 participants from Iran sat for the exam this year at the university.Asiya Hurdapaz, who was one of those sitting for the exam yesterday, said she heard about the PTE Academic from her friends and decided to take it so she can apply to a university in Australia. She says there was "a huge interest" from Iranian youth for the exam.
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