Turkish student finds comfort in home away from home

CEREN KAPLAN
AGE: 22
HOME: ANKARA, TURKEY
MAJOR: COMPUTER SCIENCE
HOBBIES: HANGING OUT WITH FRIENDS, LISTENING TO MUSIC, READING AND DOING YOGA
FAVORITE SAYING: “BON APPETITE” BEFORE A MEAL; THANKING THE HANDS OF THE CHEF AFTER A MEAL.

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Lincoln wasn’t a completely foreign place to Ceren Kaplan when she moved here in August 2013 because it was the second time she’d be living on Nebraska soil.

When Kaplan was 2 years old, she and her family moved to from Ankara, Turkey, to Lincoln so her mother could complete a Ph.D. in food science. Before moving back to Turkey about four years later, Kaplan attended preschool and kindergarten at LPS.

In 2013, her stepfather was offered a position as an electrical engineering professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Their family prepared for another move and Kaplan prepared for college.

Unlike many international students, Kaplan had the comfort of her parents and sister to make the transition to UNL easier. She also met many friends through the programs offered for international students at UNL.

“I worked for the welcome team in 2016 for international students,” Kaplan said. “Most of my friends are international or exchange students.”

Although her mother, stepfather and sister are here with her, Kaplan finds it challenging to be apart from her father, grandparents and friends in Turkey.

“I still talk to my friends in Turkey regularly,” she said. “Talking to them helps the homesickness.”

The biggest difference she noticed from Turkey and the United States was the amount of independence she now has. Many women in Turkey are expected to live with their families until they are married, but in Nebraska, Kaplan has the opportunity to live on her own.

“I learned how to stand by myself,” she said.

Now a senior studying computer science, Kaplan began at UNL not knowing what to study.

“I always liked math and logic but I didn’t want to study math,” Kaplan said. “I liked how raw (computer science) was.”

After graduation, Kaplan plans to live near her family in Lincoln and finding a job at a start-up company.

“I’m already away from a lot of people,” she said. “And I think Lincoln has a lot of good opportunities.”

 

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