A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
Recently elections were held in Turkey and this brought up a lot of debate in the public sphere, a lot has been said and a lot has been discussed. I won’t get into the politics of it as this is not the place, if interested however, you can contact me personally.
What I will talk about is being abroad, being away when such important events are taking place.
“Oh it’s easy to talk, when you are all the way in New York!” was a response a friend of mine was getting on social media, when she commented about the elections and all that relates to it. It is a response often received by people who have gone abroad for reasons like education, career or anything really. Being blamed for “having left the country”, “having taken the easy path” and the list goes on.
What these people are so blind to see however is that leaving doesn’t necessarily mean leaving. You can never fully leave a place.
Yes, this is my third year living in The Netherlands. Yes, I do call it home now, my second home. Yes, I have gotten used to the people, the culture and the opening times of stores now. (Okay, that last one is not true; there is a chance that I will never get used to that… I mean who closes stores at 5pm? Why would you open stores so late on Mondays!? It’s just not okay.) I am getting off topic…
The point is, this place might feel like home to me, but it doesn’t make Turkey any “less like home”. Istanbul is where I have my roots. It’s where I was born and where I grew up. And I will always care. I might be a three-hour-flight but I will always care, it wouldn’t matter if there were oceans in between. As long as I have family there, friends and loved ones who are affected by the things that happen, I will care. There is no other option, no other possibility.
I am telling you this so that you know. You might want to study abroad and you should, it’s awesome! But don’t think that leaving is easy; you will leave a part of you behind too. You might want to run away from a country or from problems but let me tell you, it’s not that simple.
I would like to end with the words of a Turkish poet, Cemal Süreyya:
Gitmekle gidilmiyor ki…
Gitmekle gitmiş olamazsın;
Or as (attempted to be) translated:
It isn’t possible to go by going…
You can’t have gone by going;
Your heart stays,
Your mind stays,
Your memories stay.