While this year’s courses host students mainly from Morocco, Nigeria and Indonesia, it is possible to see those from China, Thailand, Libya, Lebanon, Finland and Australia. They usually come to the center to facilitate study at a Turkish university.
There are also those who come to FÜSEM just to learn Turkish, like Afghan national Markiz Ensari, whose parents took refuge in Australia when Soviet forces invaded Afghanistan in late 1979.
Highlighting Turkey’s central position vis-à-vis the students’ countries of origin, FÜSEM Director Halil Zaim said: “Turkey is a powerful country in terms of qualified manpower and education in its region. If we can raise our head above our current problems, we will see that people in Africa, the Balkans and the Middle East will come to us for an education.”
The director also said FÜSEM contributes to the elevation of Turkish as an international language by teaching it to people from around the world.
Zaim stressed that a similar system that allows student exchanges between countries, such as the European Union’s Erasmus program, must be established between Turkey and its neighbors, adding that as FÜSEM they are willing to cooperate with Middle Eastern and Balkan countries in education.
Zaim pointed out that FÜSEM currently maintains an educational project with the International Burch University in Bosnia and Herzegovina and said they met with a surprise in Tripoli, where they went to have talks for launching a similar project with a Libyan university. He recounted that the rector of the Libyan university, who had graduated from the Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ) in Ankara, started his address by speaking Turkish. “Saying that his grandfather is a Turk, the deputy rector asked us in Turkish ‘We have a common culture, history and religion; why don’t we do something together?’” Zaim said.
Among this year’s students learning Turkish at the center, Moroccan students Abdullah, Yusuf, Adil and Raşit give the same answer to the question of why they are learning the language: “Turkey’s economy is now better. The education in Turkish universities is high quality. Most importantly, Turkey is a modern Muslim state.”
The manager of a kindergarten in Morocco, Raşit came to İstanbul, leaving his wife and one-and-a-half year old daughter behind in Morocco. He wants to study at a Turkish university.
FÜSEM has been delivering various courses in Mecidiyeköy in İstanbul, including Turkish and English. The center also offers an MBA program without a thesis that can also be taught through distance learning, where students can communicate with their lecturers online.