One always hears how great it is living abroad, that it will be so rewarding and life changing. That is all true! And there’s also so much more. I was a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) in Turkey from 2010-2011. I lived in a small town in the southern mountains of Turkey– Isparta, supposedly the rose capital of the world. I was one of the only foreigners there and definitely the only American that most of my students had ever met. My role as cultural ambassador was apparent on day one. My university freshman students were funny and sweet, most of them hardly spoke English, a few were almost fluent. Every day in the classroom was a challenge and I hardly knew any Turkish. I lived with two Turkish girls and learned to cook. I travelled throughout the country on my three-day weekends. I loved the country so much I decided to stay another year, but moved cities and switched to teaching middle school English. It was just as challenging and fun. I think about Turkey often– I miss my friends, Turkish coffee, the Mediterranean Sea, the chance to visit ancient sites whenever I wanted. It is a truly beautiful place and I cannot wait to return someday.

Cassandra Conboy Neel
2010-2011, Turkey, English Teaching Assistant
Current Position: Administrative Coordinator, Department of Linguistics and Asian/Middle Eastern Languages, San Diego State University

The content of this blog post reflects the author’s views, and not necessarily the views of the Fulbright Association nor of the San Diego Fulbright Chapter.