Turkish student adjusts to American life


Photo Credit: Harleen Saberwal

Deniz Acet sits in Starbucks moments after her interview.

by Harlen Saberwal, Staff Writer

“What? Who poured this on my head?” the teacher said in shock.

Deniz giggled as she ran down the hallway, with an almost empty bottle of yogurt-water in her hand. She felt guilty that the beverage ended up on the teacher’s head. However, when she poured the drink from the fifth floor out of boredom, this hadn’t been her intention. Deniz knew that she would probably get in trouble if she stayed where she was. She scurried away from there, feeling guilty about the incident.

Memories like these made back in Turkey are ones that shape who she is today.

Deniz Acet is currently a sophomore who moved to America in 2018 from Istanbul, Turkey. She was excited to learn English, and she saw many opportunities here. However, her move was not easy.

Deniz had to say farewell to her closest friends, and found it heartbreaking to know that she couldn’t go to school with them, or worse, see them again. After knowing them for seven years, visiting local cities—such as Istanbul, Mugla, and Bolu—and attending many family gatherings, it was very hard for her to leave. However, she had eventually made friends in America, too. 

“If you tell someone ‘hi,’ they just be friends with you.”

Deniz explained that when she lived in Turkey the teenagers thought of themselves as really cool. They would promise to play games with people and make them feel included, but then they would ditch them there right at the spot after some time. 

Glen Rock High School was also accommodating, and she feels the teachers are much more welcoming, compared to how they were in Turkey. Turkish schools follow a much more strict system of education, which makes many classes almost impossible to pass. Math was extremely difficult to understand, and she was surprised at how simple it was when she came here. 

Math wasn’t the only thing that was more simplified.

“I feel free to wear what clothes I like.”

Like in many foreign countries around the world, in Turkey women are often accompanied by men when they go out. This was almost always the case when Deniz lived there. One time, as she strolled with her sister, she turned to see a man following them. He then asked them if they wanted to come with him, and Deniz panicked. She kept her cool and walked faster with her sister. Eventually, the man left, but the frightening feeling took a while to get rid of. Deniz contrasted this experience to hers in America, and how such a thing has never occurred to her in this country.  

She can roam freely around the town of Glen Rock. In fact, on the weekends, she always goes for a stroll in the park.Sometimes, she goes to the YMCA with her brother, making sure to stop at Starbucks to taste that fresh caramel frappuccino. She enjoys going out with her family.Still, feelings of loneliness overcome her when she is at home, thinking of lost friends across the sea.

Deniz tries her hardest to stay positive in situations, and tries to move on, without holding things from the past. She believes her Mother has helped her gain these unique traits as she looks to her mother as her role model.