Better language skills help refugees to become more self-reliant in Turkey for which UNHCR continues to work together with its partners as well as its donors. Thanks to the financial and technical assistance of the European Union, combined with the generous efforts of Turkey, UNHCR supports refugees like Radiya and her mother Kamar so that they can learn the language of the host country and become a part of the host community.
Kayseri, Turkey – “It often gets cold and icy in Kayseri at this time of the year,” says 19-year-old Radiya in Turkish. Her mother then adds “But we love this city no matter what.”
Radiya and her mother Kamar, are currently attending Turkish language classes at the Melikgazi Public Education Center (PEC) in Kayseri. Four years ago, Radiya and her family fled Hama, Syria, and arrived in Kayseri. Upon their arrival, Radiya did not know Turkish at all. With the help of her friends, she started learning Turkish. At the same time, she was determined to continue her education. Radiya’s efforts and perseverance led her to finally obtain her high school diploma in Turkey. She is now in her first year of studying Biology at Erciyes University. She hopes one day in the near future, she will pursue a successful career with her degree. “Education is crucial for me to attain my goals in the future.” says Radiya.
Until recently, Radiya’s knowledge of Turkish grammar was limited as she mostly learnt the language from her friends from the neighborhood. Because Radiya arrived in Turkey when she was in high school, she could not follow detailed Turkish grammar courses as these were mostly for primary and middle-school level students. She was thus thinking that she needed to learn Turkish grammar professionally especially to thrive at her academic tasks and projects in the university. She also wanted to improve her pronunciation and intonation skills to better reflect herself while communicating with her peers and professors.
“While I was looking for a professional introductory course for my basic but crucial language needs, my friends told me about the Turkish courses available in the PECs in Kayseri. From there I decided to enroll to improve my skills and future learning prospects.” says Radiya. As she was registering, Radiya also informed her mother, Kamar, about the language courses available. Without any hesitation, Kamar also decided to attend in the same Turkish language courses. Together, mother and daughter enrolled and started attending the A2 level Turkish language courses at one of the PECs in Kayseri.
“Good language skills are indispensable for success in one’s life.”
Since the first day of classes, Kamar and Radiya found the course quite enjoyable and they are also very pleased with their progress so far. While they attend the classes and do their homework together, Radiya’s mother has different goals than her daughter for learning Turkish. Kamar hopes to develop her Turkish conversation skills to establish more relationships with her Turkish neighbors. Their teacher, Tuğba is also very happy about the pairs’ dedication to learning the language. “Their passion to learn motivates other students in the classes.” expresses Tuğba.
Thanks to her new Turkish skills, Kamar has made some Turkish friends among women in the neighborhood. Her daughter, Radiya has found that her grammar and speaking skills have vastly improved, which helps her complete her university education. Both recommend the Turkish language courses to others in order to have better communication abilities with the host community in daily life. They also add that good Turkish language skills are indispensable for success in one’s life. They say to refugees who are thinking about enrolling in Turkish courses: “Do not hesitate to register to the Turkish language courses as it will definitely make your life easier in Turkey and can contribute to your success in every shape or form.”
The classes are being provided as part of the “Increasing access to Turkish language learning and vocational training for Syrians under temporary protection and people in need of international protection in Turkey”, which is financed by the European Union. The project is currently being implemented by the Ministry of National Education and UNHCR. The aim of the project is to provide Turkish language courses and technical vocational trainings for Syrians under Temporary Protection and people in need of international protection in PECs across Ankara, Bursa, Kayseri and Konya.
©UNHCR/ Can Eminoğlu
Radiya and her mother Kamar are together with their Turkish language teacher, Tuğba