Albukhary International University hosted the first of its kind, a fully sponsored short  course programme by its founder Tuan Syed Mohktar Al Bukhary, emphasising on English Language proficiency and building a cultural bridge and understanding between Malaysia and Turkey, the Turgev Albukhary Culture and Language Camp 2016 (TALC Camp ’16).

Malaysia – Turkey Camp ’16

Alor Setar and AiU welcomed 204 talented and carefully selected students from Turkish background whom had shown either great academic achievements or through recommendations. Many of them are seen as future leaders of Turkey through their involvement in activities at their respective institutions both in and outside the classroom.

TALC CAMP ’16 kicked off on the 15 August 2016 and ended with a Grand Finale of Cultural night and Award Ceremony followed by a much awaited visit to the capital city, Kuala Lumpur. After a month of unforgettable memories of Malaysia, the truly Asian experience, students flew back to Istanbul on the 14 of September.

“Thank you Tuan Syed Mohktar and AiU for giving me the skills to communicate in English with my new friends in Malaysia. I am truly blessed and proud to have participated in this programme.”

– Hassan Dede

Cultural Exchange

When in Rome, do as the romans has a much deeper meaning than just respecting others, the world would be a much more peaceful place if cultures and people would want to know and understand why others do things differently.

Remarkable was also the contributions given by teachers, staff and volunteers involved in the programme. They could provide first hand information about Malaysia and at the same time learning about Turkish customs. Curiosity and an adventurous attitude witnessed students coming back from markets and other places with local delights from nasi lemak to rambutan. Some students even ventured into fear factor mode and tried durian which they had never seen but were quick to notice the smell, and renamed it as rotten onions.

“Durian smells like rotten onions, so I had to hold my nose before putting it in my mouth…”

– Emrullah Talha Çiçek

Academic Programme

The programme blended an intensive Academic English Course of 30+ hours per week classroom contact time that complimented a detailed programme of cultural exchange.

The programme was designed to accommodate four separate competency levels – elementary, pre-intermediate, intermediate and upper intermediate. The English language content for each level was designed to provide structured and progressive development in all skills, reading, listening, writing and speaking spread over a duration of four weeks.

Aiming to develop greater fluency and accuracy in the productive skills of speaking and writing, IELTS framework syllabus was adopted to include specific tasks throughout the programme relating topics and linking to the cultural programme. Weekly individual and group presentations were linked to their weekend excursions and activities. This enabled them to relate vocabulary to ‘real life’ experiences, consequently boosting confidence.

“My teacher was encouraging us to speak a lot even though we made a lot of mistakes initially. This gave us the confidence to become more fluent in English.”

– Kübra Çetinbas

Meeting the Locals Through Community Engagement and Travels

The uniqueness of the programme saw Turkish individuals going out of their comfort zone to interact with locals in Alor Setar and elsewhere. Throughout the programme students were active “tourists” touring around Malaysia. However, not as a typical tourists, participating in events and community engagement programmes that would enable them to really get under the skin of the Malaysian culture.

A visit to a juvenile schools was interesting as Turkish students joined in local traditional games and activities. Later a visit to Baling, where slaughtering of cows to celebrate Hari Raya Haji with locals. Many students helped out at the orphanage and mosque during their time here at AiU. Some were even invited home to local families in Alor Setar to try Malaysian food and receive local hospitality.

“I met a family at the Albukhary mosque and they invited me to their home to have dinner the next day. I learned a lot from them as well as I got to try delicious home cooked Nasi Lemak.”

– Esra Hacioglu
An amazing race like game through Penang took students through a cultural heritage journey unlike any other by visiting historical and religious places. This included visits to temples, a mosque, a church, indian street and china town. Student had to go through obstacles trying durian, indian sweets and teh tarik taking photos to record their endeavours.

“Seeing how Malaysians from different cultures and religious background live side by side was truly amazing and remarkable.”

– Ibrahim Keles

Hiking up Gunung Jerai took students through jungle like environment, completely different from their own habitat. Langkawi became a favourite where a visit through Kulim, island hopping and encounters with monkeys were instant hits. In Kuala lumpur, a visit to Batu Caves was an enchanting experience as well as touring around Putrajaya over the countless majestic bridges was popular. From the modern part of the city and impressive towers of KLCC to chinatown for souvenir shopping, students saw several sides of the capital. Lastly, a visit to the Islamic arts museum, where many also bought souvenirs for their loved ones before getting on the bus to take them back to the airport.

“I really enjoyed the diversity of the museum, I even bought many souvenirs for my family and friends.”

– Dilara

Time to Say Good Bye

Malaysians all over Malaysia opened their arms to welcome these young travellers from the country where Europe meets Asia. The Turks embraced the Malaysian hospitality and soon after arriving they engaged with locals alike to learn more about Malaysia.

These bonds of friendship and actions of appreciation were seen clearly on the day of departure when team leaders and students alike were seen making teary farewells at KLIA airport. It was truly a special kind of bond created between the people involved in this programme. Malaysia had truly set a mark in Turkish hearts, and vice versa.

“I don’t want to go back to Turkey yet, I have just started to love this country and the people. I will never forget the friends I have made here.”

– Akif Bakirci

Till we meet again. Jumpa Lagi 🙂