[For the full photo album of our Orientation Program, click here]
After a very successful application period over the course of the year (with over 1500 undergraduate applications from around 100 countries) and a long summer of anticipation, the AGU International Office team was finally able to welcome our new International Undergraduate and Graduate AGU students to our Campus in Kayseri on September 26th.
This first week in Kayseri was the opportunity for our new International Students to get key information on their new Alma Mater, take care of immigration issues, start their integration into AGU and of course take part in some fun activities with the International Office and their fellow Turkish Students.
The first priority was given to informing the students in an interactive manner; on their new university, on the different AGU administrative and academic Departments, as well as on their new city and host country. After distributing new AGU Welcome Packs (including a new AGU backpack, cap, mug, stationary and Kayseri city guide), the AGU International Office officially welcomed the newcomers and described the planning for the week. The students were also given guidelines regarding their administrative to do list, including the AGU English Exemption Exam for those who needed it, their Diploma Equivalency (required for application), Residence Permit and mandatory Health Insurance.
During the course of the week, various AGU Departments also met with our new students in order to inform them on the administrative and academic processes of the University. The internationals met with the Health, Culture and Sports Department, the IT Department, the Dean of Students, the AGU Youth Factory, as well as the Head of the Core Curriculum Committee in order to learn more about the AGU Faculty System and first year Core Curriculum. An AGU Clubs fair was also organized, which was the chance for all new AGU students, Turkish and international, to discover the existing AGU Student Clubs and to join their ranks.
The new students were accompanied by the International Office in their administrative procedures including their first bank visit, applying for Residence Permit and setting up their Health Insurance.
Their first week at AGU was punctuated by informal activities aimed at bringing the new group together, such as “energizer games” (name games and team building challenges), a giant campus tour – where the internationals discovered the joys of having a sports playground adjoining the campus – as well as a Letter Writing Ceremony, where the students completed the unusual task of writing a letter to their future, graduated, selves.
As always, food also played an important role in consolidating the newly formed gang, as they had many opportunities to share meals together with the International Office or with their fellow Turkish newcomers; these included a cocktail following the Rector’s Welcome Speech, a Barbecue evening for all students and a Sunday morning Brunch with the International Office, where the international students shared (and discovered) typical Turkish breakfast foods.
The week was capped off with the Official 2015-2016 Academic Year Opening Ceremony. The event was highlighted by the Opening Speech of Abdullah Gül, Eleventh President of Turkey, after whom the University was named. The new AGU international students had the opportunity to welcome the President to the campus and some of them accompanied him and their fellow Turkish AGU students to the developing Mimar Sinan campus, south of the city, for the traditional tree planting ceremony.
During the weekend following this first week of orientation, the international students participated in a Kayseri city tour with the Turkish students, the last stop being the city’s amusement park Mazakaland. On Sunday, the International Office organized a full-day excursion to Cappadocia in order to give the students a preview of this beautiful and unique UNESCO World Heritage site, which they will have the opportunity to discover little by little in the course of their studies at AGU. The program included a visit to Derinkuyu Underground City, a stop above Pigeon Valley to admire the view of Uçhisar, a visit of Paşabağ and the discovery of Devrent/Imaginary Valley. The trip finished with a stop at the “Three Beauties”, offering a great view of the Cappadocian landscape and Mt Erciyes in the distance.
This first week with our new international students was definitely incredible. It was also a crucial moment in their new student lives, as it marked the beginning of their AGU adventure. It was the opportunity for them to discover the world of higher education, as well as a brand new campus and University with an innovative vision and approach. It was also a very busy time for them: meeting the 11th President of Turkey, visiting key attractions of one of the top UNESCO World Heritage sites… all of this in a week; a good way to start their AGU Student Journey, don’t you think?