Why did you decide to study at The School of The New York Times?
365体育备用网址Coming from a country, where “education” aims to “unify” and limit, experiencing learning was my dream. In Turkey, we are “taught” to be the followers of entrepreneurs, scientists, and revalutionarists. But we are never encouraged to be different or more than them. Instead, we are encouraged to memorize what these people have found and apply these memories in our lives without any wonder, question or alteration. When generations who do not know or are not willing to ask the questions “Why?” and “How?” are being created in Turkey, the country’s situation should not be a surprise to the rest of the world.
365体育备用网址Moreover, alongside with many last rankings, Turkey is the number one in something; being world’s biggest jail for journalists. Now, imagine a country where abnormal becomes normal, eyes of the newer generations are being shut down while there is no-one to talk about, no-one to let others know, and no-one to encourage people to take action. Not only on a national level, but also international. This is what happens when a country lacks education and journalists.
I decided to study at The School of The New York TImes because I wanted to learn how to question the world and report on it effectively from the experts who experienced judgement, attacks and even human rights violations, but never gave up and continued to do what they believed to be essential. For me this was not really a choice. When I saw the program, I felt like I had to. For myself, but most importantly, for millions of people in my country and around the world who are not as lucky as me to have the chance and resources which I have.
Which course did you take and why?
I took the course named as “The Foreign Bureau: Covering the World” in the New York City Campus. The first reason why I took this course was because of its focus on the relationships between countries, politics and humans. Today, when I say politics or international relations, some of my friends look at me and respond to me with saying “Oh, I do not know anything about them.” However, the thing which they seem to not realize is that everything is politics and has an international connection to itself. Thinking about abortion, conducting scientific research about climate change, asking for equal opportunity in schooling and even reporting a sexual assault is politics. China building dams on their soil is international relations when it affects the water and fishing access of millions living outside of China, or world leaders becoming autocratic is related to international relations when it shows other nations how a country can get away with human rights violations. In believing that our world is more interconnected and political ever, I saw this course as a combination which reflects today’s climate.
The second reason why I chose this class is because of its focus on the international journalism. As a person who went through a conflict in which no one, including the people in her own country, even heard about, I know how it feels when no one cares about you or can help you. But, furthermore, as a person who is from a city which lost its history, culture and identity which was its basis for centuries; I know how important it is to tell what is happening. Overall, I do think that international journalism is a branch of science, not only about what exists but what should exist; especially in these days of global populism, authoritarian regimes, and post-reality. Denying this would damage both the ideology and power which international journalism has over people that forces them to give answers. In believing in this, I felt like this course was exactly what I was looking for, and I was not wrong.
If you had to name one thing that you learned from your time here, what is that one takeaway that will stay with you?
365体育备用网址Hope. I learned to be hopeful for our future, hopeful for what my generation is capable of and what they will do. Our class had people coming from, living in and having been to many countries or have many friends in many places. If there is one most important thing that I learned from this experience, it is how we are close and far at the same time. Seeing how we can feel the same things about similar events but live oceans away is something which amazed me and made me fill with hope.
After going through many things in such a short period of my life, from political instability to human rights violations, it is not always easy for me to see the world as a place to be hopeful. However, after sharing stories with my classmates and learning from each other; I think we all realized how the world is not only consisting of us, but we are all interconnected.
This made me see the future very differently, because I do believe everything starts with understanding each other. Everything starts when you start calling the person in front of you, then the other. We were able to accomplish that in such a short amount of time under the roof of The New York Times.
What was your favorite site visit?
Chinatown. Firstly, walking in the streets of Chinatown made me feel like I was in New York and very far away at the same time. I do feel like this site visit represented an important portion of New York City’s identity: its diversity. But also, the heaviness of the monoculturalism made me feel like I was in China. These conflicting feelings showed me how humans get attached to each other when they share the same collective history, nationality and culture. Moreover, this made me wonder whether it makes sense or if it is more of a forced notion.
Secondly, being encouraged to approach to unknown people on the streets and ask for their opinion was a first for me. I did not want to interrupt them because of the reaction they might give and was scared to steal their time. However, even though it was hard at the beginning, after getting some encouraging answers, I was willing to ask and find more.
Lastly, apart from my experience, I did enjoy learning about the experiences of my classmates. Through sharing stories and our experiences, we were able to build the characterization of Chinatown and impression we should have to write our individual pieces. This showed me the beauty and value of different perspectives.
Who was the most memorable guest speaker?
David Rohde. Apart from his experiences as an international corresponder, writer and being captured by the Taliban, his experience and observations as a human being were very significant and interesting to me. Additionally, hearing his stories from himself was once in a lifetime opportunity and I especially enjoyed his input and comments about today’s world enriched with his experiences. For example, he told us how everyone approached him with having conspiracy theories in their minds, such as him being an agent. Building on to that, he was able to teach us a bigger lesson about today’s world, stating that “the absurd amount of conspiracy theories we encounter in our everyday lives is one of the reasons of the political instability and the intolerance which we are facing all around the world.”
What were your faculty like?
365体育备用网址Clyde Haberman was one of the best faculty members I could ask for. His knowledge about everything not only amazed me but also made me realize how much room I have to grow and need to develop myself through reading, following the current events and experiencing the world. One important lesson I gained from him is to check the newspaper everyday. I would never forget the effect he had on our classroom regarding this topic and I can already see it from the fact that me not missing any of The New York Times after the course. One other memorable thing which I learned from Mr. Haberman was how staying professional is a key of journalism, especially international journalism. This is something which I need to work on and having his example was eye-opening. He is able to keep his unbiased, opinionated and professional perspective even in the most emotional or political situations. We were able to observe this not only through his comments in the class, but also his work. His advice, “News speak for themselves, you do not need to have an opinion about it,” stayed and will stay with me for a long time.
Boomer Pinches was one of the other best faculty members I could ask for. Even though what we were learning was not a conventional classroom material, his approach with having a background in both journalism and teaching made everything much easier and more understandable for me. Additionally, with his help, I realized that international journalism can be in any form and shape, and surrounds every one of us everyday. He taught me how journalism is about being aware of what is going on around you and deepening your awareness through constant observations. After his teachings, I started seeing the world as countless stories to tell and learn, which is something magical.
What does The New York Times mean to you?
The New York Times means liberation and awareness for me. Liberation, because The New York Times gives you pure information, research and well-argued opinions which help you create or choose your own set of judgement; thus, lead to the liberation of your mind.
Awareness, because with The New York Times, you learn deeper or differently about the things which you might have heard of from somewhere, and also the small stories of individuals which you had no idea about. This experience opens your eyes even wider, making your problems seem so insignificant, and making you feel not alone or encouraging you to take action.
What does it mean to you to study in New York City?
Studying in New York City means having the ability to be in the USA, Italy and China by walking a few blocks. Studying in New York City means having the chance to visit almost every organization, museum, foundation, club and much more in a very condensed area; thus, study in a hub of culture, enlightenment and development. Studying in New York City means there is always a story to tell; from economics to racism, immigration to the United Nations. Studying in New York City is so significant, as your classroom becomes New York City.
What do you think you want to be when you grow up?
Even though I am still not able to say which profession I want to pursue, I want to be a good human being who becomes the chance of people to share the experiences they had the chance to have. I always see myself as someone really lucky, and this comes with a responsibility to push yourself even further and share what you have. Additionally, with believing in individual action and learning how humans are so close but artificially pushed to be far away from each other, I cannot imagine myself becoming a person who is not trying to change the status quo. Because of this reason, I do not want to be an employee who works tirelessly to make the richest people even richer; nor do I want to work for a government who gets their power from telling lies to their citizens. No matter what I do, I want to be a good human being with morals and reasons to live my life.