Internship in Psychology Department at Istanbul Bilgi University

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1 Internship in Psychology Department at Istanbul Bilgi University How I found the internship I was already looking for an internship in Istanbul for five months and it revealed to be very difficult since internship positions do not exist as frequently as they do in Germany and it is hard to manage the application for new positions from abroad. Therefore, I was excited when I saw the announcement on the homepage of Student and Arbeitsmarkt for an internship in the International Office. I sent my application and the responsible person there forwarded my CV to a Professor from the Psychology Department, since I have a strong psychological background and they evaluated me as overqualified for the internship at the International Office - what a luck! After consultation with the professor and an interview in Istanbul, I got the internship approval and applied for Erasmus founding. My expectations Mainly, I expected to extend my knowledge in the field of psychological research and gaining practical experience during the internship. Additionally, I wanted to learn Turkish and get to know Turkish people. I was very curious about learning new things and making new experiences - my expectations were not very concrete. After completing my internship at Istanbul Bilgi University, I can say that my expectations are absolutely fulfilled. Actually, I carried out a variety of interesting tasks, I would have never expected to be doing and it turned out to be much fun. Preparation for going to Turkey In order to prepare myself for Turkey, I made Turkish course at the LMU for one semester and tried to learn basic vocabulary. Due to my international Master s program, I have some Turkish friends with whom I could talk about the Turkish culture and ask questions about cultural particularities, housing etc. Since the Gezi demonstrations, I am very interested in the political situation of Turkey and kept myself informed through media.

2 Internship tasks Conducting quantitative and qualitative research I performed literature research and reference management with administrative programs and contributed to the data collection and evaluation process in different research projects. The main projects focused on cultural identity, situation and career planning of gays in Turkey and critical thinking. Supporting applications for research congresses I supported an Assistant Professor with the application for hosting the Mixed Methods International Research Association (MMIRA) 2016 at Bilgi University. Therefore, I provided an application proposal including important information about advertising, financing, location, keynote speakers and the city of Istanbul. By attending meetings with experts on qualitative research in Turkey, I contributed to the refinement process of the application. In order to apply as a speaker at the 35th International Conference on Critical Thinking and Educational Reform 2015 in California, I supported an Assistant Professor with the preparation of her application. This included literature research on critical thinking in Turkey and developing suggestions for the presentation. Management of the Homepage In order to facilitate the access to Bilgi Psychology Homepage for foreigners, I translated Turkish contents of the homepage in English and was responsible for the public display of the translations on the homepage. Therefore, I became acquainted with the Bilgi online environment. Additionally, she supported the student assistants with entering grades, posting news and modifying the contents of the homepage. Performing administrative tasks In case administrative tasks came up, I carried out e.g. management of applicants for the new term, transmitting post and mailing, printing and organizing booklets for the new semester. Attending courses from Organizational Psychology I attended courses in Organizational Psychology, Qualitative Research as well as Developmental Psychology and increased her knowledge in these areas. Learning Turkish Language (Level A2) A language course from Bilgi University enabled me to acquire a basic level in the Turkish language.

3 Assistance in course preparation I supported the professor s preparations for their courses with searching for specific articles, preparing Power Point presentations and administrative tasks. Developing my master thesis topic Since I will be writing my master thesis in summer 2015, I developed the idea for the comparison of leadership preferences of students from Turkey and Germany. After consultation with the supervisor in Germany, the preparation for the thesis started. In order to be able to collect data at the Bilgi University, an application at the ethics committee was required. The Assistance Professors supported me with regard to the ethics application. After receiving the approval, I collected data at Bilgi University in March Implementation of knowledge and experiences from studies Since my Master focuses on research; I was able to contribute to the ongoing research projects of the Psychology Department with the skills I acquired in my previous studies. My international Master also helped me with coping the situation of living in a foreign country and meeting people with another mentality and cultural background. I have been studying at the LMU with fellow students from all over the world and gained some cross cultural knowledge, which was very helpful to cope with situations and people. Additionally, it turned out to be advantageous, that the instruction language and the communication with many fellow students in Germany was in English. Thereby, I improved my English and in Istanbul, it was very easy for me to communicate in English with my supervisors and colleagues. Since the instruction language at the Bilgi University is English as well, I was also able to attend classes and extend my knowledge through that. Working capacity Since I am the first intern in the Psychology Department, specific tasks for an intern did not exist yet. But together with my supervisor and the professors, we developed interesting tasks and I had the feeling to contribute meaningful to their duties. In case there was free time, I showed personal initiative or worked on the development of a topic for my master thesis. Therefore, I was busy and it was never boring.

4 Learning new things As described above, I completed various new tasks. Especially the application for research congresses present a field in which I have never been worked before. My tasks in this area were very exciting, especially since we got approved for one of the congresses. Was the internship fun? Yes, I had a lot of fun. Especially my friendly and helpful colleagues made my time at the Bilgi University unique and very enjoyable. Problems and cultural issues Despite many Turkish - including Turkish men who made my stay in Istanbul pleasurable, I faced problems with regard to being a woman in Turkey. I did not expect big differences in gender equality compared to Germany - but I had to realize that they exist! Men starring at women is part of the daily life - especially if they are foreigners. Moreover, I experienced offenses and sexual harassment. After I talking about that with local and foreign women, I realized that both of them suffer under the situation of women in Turkey. Currently, there are demonstrations since raping and even murders of women are happening frequently in Turkey. The topic becomes public right now and I hope that this results in a change of the government s attitude and of the behavior on the streets in Istanbul. I handled these circumstances by ignoring these men and by learning Turkish as quick as possible to be able to differentiate nice from insulting communication. I recommend women who want to go abroad to Turkey to be aware of the gender unequal situation - you should not expect a modern attitude with regard to that issue. Of course, time is not standing still and there are people who think different and men who put great effort in supporting women s right. But nevertheless, equality is not achieved right now and conservatism is widespread. Relationship with colleagues My colleagues were very friendly, open- minded and helpful. They supported me with learning Turkish, we practiced a lot. And they also advised me to cultural particularities, interesting things to see and visit etc. I will for sure keep in contact and visit them on my next stay in Istanbul.

5 Contact with locals Yes, I met and got to know local people and I think the most important requirement for that is being able to speak Turkish. At least some basic vocabulary are very helpful since most (especially older) people do not speak English. Everybody reacts very pleased if you try to speak Turkish and even if you only know a few things to say. My tips for students I want to stress again the importance of speaking at least a bit Turkish. it will make your life here much easier. After arriving in Turkey, you have to apply for your resident permit at the police for foreigners. This process can be very long lasting and tearing. Therefore I recommend to be prepared for the meeting at the police, read the requirements carefully and bring all necessary documents. The police might rarely speak English, it is helpful to be prepared to communicate in Turkish. If this is done, it is time to explore Istanbul - and there is a lot to see! Despite the main sightseeing, I recommend to go to the various local markets which offer low- priced food, including fresh vegetables and fruits, homemade cheese, jams and bread etc.. they are always a culinary journey! Moreover, there are many nice cafes and bars - you will find them by exploring the unique nightlife around Taksim. Many restaurants and bars do also offer a terrace, from where you can enjoy the wonderful skyline and view on the Bosporus. If you are tired, take a rest with a black tee. Its delicious and you will get used to it since its available everywhere and everybody drinks it. Contacts apart from work Apart from work, I got to know people who are friends of friends etc. I also learned to know a lot of people during my Turkish course, we met often and organized something. Additionally, I got to know the people who work around my flat - bakers, sellers and people who live in the house. Many invited me for tea and with the time, they got to know me. It sometimes felt like a small village. Housing I found a flat via craigslist and it was very easy. If you want to live in the central area, it is not that cheap but affordable. I recommend to live around Taksim - Karaköy, Cihangir and Cucurcuma or Besiktas - especially for women who should avoid long walks in the night alone.

6 My impressions I experienced the Turkish people as very friendly. It takes some time to get closer. If you invest that time and try to understand their culture, they will be very helpful, reliable, and hospitable. And I love the Turkish food! Everything is fresh cooked and they serve amazing pre- dishes (mezes), fish etc. Language Skills I definitely improved my Turkish language skills. hearing Turkish everyday made my pronunciation much better and with the time I understood more and more. Internship & Studies I extended my knowledge especially in Industrial Psychology and research during the internship. These are very interesting fields of Psychology and I can imagine working there in my future career. Are internship positions available for foreign students? I know that there is great interest in having interns in the future. Recommendation for future interns? Yes, I can absolutely recommend this position since an intern has many possibilities to participate and work independently. Suggestions for improvement The support from Student and Arbeitsmarkt, namely Mr. Hoch was very good and helpful. One thing to improve is the timing of the payment of the first rate of the Erasmus founding, it was very late and in case you depend on this financial support, it might cause trouble.

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