Sadiye wearing a friend’s kimono at last term’s International Lunch

We’d like to introduce you to a current IEI student, Sadiye Aras. Her name is Arabic for ‘nice-voiced woman,’ which she says fits her well because she loves to sing, “It’s the real me!” Sadiye is originally from Mardin, Turkey. She studied at a university in Istanbul, Turkey, where she obtained a Masters degree in Physics. The youngest of six sisters, she is the first of them to attend a university.

Sadiye began taking English classes in Mardin, continuing to do so in Istanbul and later in London. Sadiye has experienced marked differences in the style of teaching English at the institutions she has attended. In Mardin, ninety percent of her lessons were focused on memorizing grammar, without many opportunities to practice speaking or listening. She attended two different schools in England, preferring the second because she was allowed to set her own pace of learning. Her favorite style is the one she has experienced at IEI, where students are placed in different classes according to their skill level–for example, a student might be at one level in Grammar, and at another level in Conversation. She says a program’s strength depends on its teachers.

Sadiye picnic 2
Sadiye at the Nashville International Picnic

As well as learning English, Sadiye appreciates that there are a variety of things to do in Nashville. “It’s a very international city,” she says, “People don’t have culture shock when they arrive here because you can find anything from your home country–food, clothing, anything.” Sadiye also enjoys the weather in Nashville, which reminds her of being back home. At the Nashville International Picnic, Sadiye met several students from nearby universities. She feels that anytime she wants to visit a university in the area, she will now have a person to contact.

After leaving IEI, Sadiye plans to pursue her doctorate in an area of the sciences, and later become a researcher. She may return home after that, but who knows? Good luck, Sadiye Aras!