Dec 11, 2016

By Sevgi Aslı BULUT


The biggest lottery in the world is having no chance to choose where you’re born. God blesses us with travelling; we can riot against the national communities who always try to classify us according to our physical appearance, cultural background, and beliefs. As you can see above, they are just talking about you and no one ever asks you how you define yourself. No one has ever asked me how I defined myself. I felt I needed them to question me to tell them who I actually am. But everything irreversibly changed in January 2016 after I was nominated by the Erasmus Plus Exchange Program to go Bournemouth in the UK.

Frankly speaking, I had concerns before the program began. The Erasmus Exchange isn’t the kind of travel journey that I am used to. It includes meeting international people, studying and living abroad! I was the princess of my house (read “kingdom”) and I had never cooked , paid bills or even taken the trash out! What kind of princess would I be during my exchange? Cinderella?

Eventually, after Erasmus was over, I realised that we all need to grow up. It might suck but it’s much more delightful than fairytales. Notably, every single moment of my post-Erasmus life was like the short movies I write, direct and act in. The very first fılm was when Bournemouth University invited me to a Skype interview and asked: “Why would you like to come to Bournemouth University?”. The answer was simple, their great academic media background. Suddenly I felt this wasn’t my belief. I didn’t want to repeat others’ belief. My answer must depict my soul.

“I think I need to get out my comfort zone and experience multiculturalism in an academic environment.”

Bournemouth lived up to my expectations instantly. Talking about scuba diving, I met my first Thai friends at the beach. The fine sand we build castles together actually comes from Sahara, a Maltese guy who studies geography told us. He also explained to me Maltese culture while we were enjoying the sunset on the pier and now I think that Malta is more than an ex-colonial island. It’s actually the coolest country, which has a Facebook page that only Maltese citizens can join. The Dutch have their own Santa Claus, called Sinterklaas. Egypt shouldn’t be visited just for pyramids. Experiencing the post-revolution atmosphere is highly recommended. The Portuguese navigate your palate with their bakery skills. I’m still dreaming about the “pastel de nata” I ate while I was imparting the Turkish are Anatolians not actually European, Asian or Middle Eastern.

Watching the Eurovision whilst drinking delicious Caribbean cocktails in Turtle Bay was another unforgettable moment. This event became more entertaining in a multicultural student city. Although Turkey didn’t compete this year; the Ukrainian winning song had a Turkish chorus. When they asked me what the chorus meant I had no idea what kind of discussion would start after they learnt its significance. Even though Erasmus is such a marvelous experience we missed our friends and family and soothed each other saying that we will see them again. Beside us, many people had to leave their homeland behind because of the political uncertainty. In that point we reached a consensus that there is only one condition required to declare a person free, can he or she take a journey with a guarantee to come back home?

The unbearable lightness of volunteering, withal, in Bournemouth… I’ve what I never imagined myself doing before modeling in a fashion show for a charity, which supports children with mental disabilities. The moment I saw those children and their families smiling at me while I was walking the podium for them, I felt I complete. I discovered one of my personal goals: build your inner strength to share it with people in need. I would like to help my own president who says, if a woman is not going to have children she’ll be seen as a deficient woman. Obviously, he has a really needy character and he acts conservative about independency of women in Turkey and tries to create a new social mentality against women to weaken them. He should be aware that if I’m not going to be a biological mother of a child, I can practice my maternal instincts with the children who need me the most as a peaceful mind and a strong, independent woman.

At the end of the six months, I realised my nationality is not enough to define my personality. I should never accept dependency even to my own family. We all deserve freedom; we’re all supposed to be free. I am everyone else and everyone else is just like me. To call me as a princess is unjust to my individuality.

Thank you for reading and commenting. Please enter the Independence 2016 Travel Writing Award and tell your story.

About the Author

Sevgi Aslı BULUT

An enthusiastic and also creative Media & Production student, who is determined to join TV and cinema and travel sector. Bong and living the intersection of the World Turkey, having many chances to meet different people who have various cultural, national and life background. Here to create and awareness for the beauty of the World, importance of humanity and understanding of empathy.

We Said Go Travel

We Said Go Travel