Culture Bound

Croatia EVS Experience
EVS blog – Tereza
Croatia EVS Experience
EVS blog – Tereza
  • Think of a place in which your leader was raised.

We have common values like Ataturk’s.

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881–1938) was the founder and first president of the Republic of Turkey. Mustafa Kemal was born in 1881 in Salonika (Selanik). For his primary education, he went to the school of Emsi Efendi in Salonika. He entered the military middle school in Salonika. In 1895, after finishing the military middle school, Mustafa Kemal entered the military high school (Askeri dadisi) in Manastir (Bitola). After successfully completing his studies at the Manastir Military School, Mustafa Kemal went to Istanbul.

  • Think of a language, which has some words that belong to your language.

Aјде was the first word that drew our attention. We also use a word that is very similar to it. ‘Haydi” means Let’s. We were very glad to hear some Turkish words in the Macedonian language.

After hearing that word, we did a search and found many Turkish based words such as, будала from budala, дарчин from tarçın, дуќан from dükkân, кадифе from kadife, кајгана from kaygana, пенџер from pencere, пура from puro, соба from soba, турпија from törpü, чај from çay, ќилим from kilim, ќумур from kömür, џамија from cami.

We were really amazed when we found out that there were many Turkish words in the Macedonian language.

  • Think of a nation,that can smile at you with its eyes.

People here in North Macedonia are incredibly friendly and helpful. Even if they cannot speak English, they try to help you by using their gestures. We would like to tell our story on the way from Skopje to Bitola. We were on the bus and did not know where to get off. We asked an old guy if the place where the bus stopped was Bıtola or not. Firstly, we tried to speak in English, but he did not understand us, and then we used our gestures to point to the place and asked, ‘Bitola, Bitola?’ And the old guy said “no.” Whenever the bus stopped, we always asked the same old uncle if the place was Bitola or not. At last, when the bus entered the terminal, the old guy started saying ‘Bitola, Bitola,” pointing at the terminal. That moment was very precious for us. It was an incredibly beautiful moment. We were away from home and knew that the place where we were going had beautiful people. Whenever people heard what country we were from, they started saying some Turkish words.

We are trying to learn some Macedonian words, and whenever we see someone on the road, we try to say some words in Macedonian. We are living on the same road as this beautiful lady in the photo. While going home, we just wanted to say hello in Macedonian, “zdravo,” and she replied to us in a very friendly manner. Then we started talking with this lady. She is an Australian living in North Macedonia. She told us how beautiful this country was and how beautiful its people were. Sometimes she spoke in Macedonian, sometimes in English. She thought we could understand Macedonian perfectly because we used ‘”Kako si?” ‘Dali razbirate makedonski?” ‘Ti blagodaram?” ‘Jas sum Turski?” ‘Jas zboruvam malku Makedonski?” ‘Se obiduvam da naucham Makedonski?” ‘Makedonya e prekrasna zemya?” “Imaj prijaten den?”

  • Think of a sokak, which reminds you of your home at every step.

When we came to Bitola, we visited the most famous Sokak, “Shirok Sokak.” It is quite similar to “İstiklal Street” in Istanbul, “7. Street” in Ankara, and “Kıbrıs Şehitleri Street” in Izmir.

Let’s talk about Istanbul; when we say Istanbul, “Istiklal Street” comes to our minds. Similarly, when we say Bitola, “Shirok Sokak” comes to mind. In Shirok Sokak, there are many cafes, restaurants, bars, markets, boutiques, and clothing stores. Similarly, on “Istiklal Street”, there are many shops, cafes, restaurants, boutiques, clothes stores, bars, etc. On both streets, we can see street musicians.

Istiklal Street is the heart of Istanbul, while Shirok Sokak is the heart of Bitola.

People can do whatever they want on both streets. If they want, they can sit in a cafe and drink their coffee, tea, or whatever they wish; people can also go shopping or listen to street musicians. Both Streets are like a summary of the city in which they are. You can find different kinds of people in the same place. When you experience İstiklal Street, it’s going to be like experiencing the whole city. When you experience Shirok Sokak, it is going to be like experiencing the whole city.

  • Think of a bazaar in which you feel like you are in Turkey.

When we compare the Old Bazaar to other bazaars in Turkey, there is a big difference. Bazaars in Tukey are set up on different days and in different places; here in The Old Bazaar, they are always set up daily.

In both bazaars, we can find fresh vegetables, fruits, tools, etc. Even when we speak different languages, we can communicate with each other easily.

In addition, people in Bazaar are very friendly and helpful. In the old bazaar, we met many people. One of them was a Turkish guy who took place in a very famous Turkish series called “Elveda Rumeli,” and he helped us find the place where the TV series took place. We got his picture and found his scene in the series.

  • Think of a cuisine that has food that belongs to your culture.

People who are going out of their comfort zones worry about their food abroad. We were one of them. We also thought about what to eat. When we came here, we saw much food belonging to Turkish cuisine, such as baklava, tulumba, kadayif, and lokum, and Turkish beverages like tea, coffee, and ayran at markets.

Even the restaurants have delicious Turkish food like kebab, doner, pide, kofte, borek, etc.

Although we are very glad to find Turkish food here, we really like Macedonian food as well. Cheese has an essential place in Turkish breakfasts. There are many different kinds of cheese. We have experienced delicious food with cheese here, and one of our favorites is baked cheese.


Aynur Cosar & Bursra Yildirgan (EVS, Turkey)