Turkish families are hosting foreign students every week as part of a project titled, "Misafir Ol Gel Bana" (Come, Be My Guest) carried out by Kocaeli Metropolitan Municipality.
The project aims to ease the life of foreign students in Turkey and accompany them during their stay. They will have the opportunity to taste local Turkish dishes and spend a day enjoying a cozy space.
Ugandan Hasan Ali Bulafo, a sophomore at Kocaeli University, said he came to Kocaeli two-and-a-half years ago, noting: "We have the opportunity to get to know more about the hospitality and warmth of the Turkish people. I think that the world will become a more peaceful and livable place if every nation can keep the hospitality of Turkish people," Bulafo said.
Bangladeshi Shahnawaz Shameem also said he came to Kocaeli University one-and-a-half years ago. He is studying in the department of civil engineering at the university. Saying that he had a hard time when he first came to the city since as he could not speak Turkish, Shameem continued: "It's a new country, but I slowly got used to it. Especially my Turkish friends and brothers at the municipality are very helpful. They were always there when I was in trouble. I am continuing learning Turkish. Turkish dishes are very different and beautiful and Turks have a rich history."
Another student is Turkmenistani Serdar Cumageldiyev who is also studying English at Kocaeli University. He said thanks to the project he got to know the culture, hospitable people and dishes of Turkey. Expressing his gratitude to the municipal officials, Cumageldiyev said: "When we first came to the city, we did not even know where to go. Thankfully, they welcomed us, placed us in homes and dormitories. We are very pleased with the services offered by Kocaeli Metropolitan Municipality. I have been to many cities, but such an environment exists only in Kocaeli."
Somali Sadiq Osman, a sophomore at Kocaeli University's Department of Energy Systems Engineering, said that he quickly got used to Turkey. Sadiq continued: "For example, it's nice to go to another family and have a meal. I feel like they are my family and I do not feel out of place at all. Turkish dishes are nice. I love mantı, which we do not have back in our country. I like meatballs and meat dishes."
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