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Study Abroad: Continental Contrasts

“You can’t have it all!” – Yes, you can. The biggest city in Europe offers contrasts everywhere you look. Two girls take a selfie, one wears extensive make-up, her friend a head scarf. A Syrian refugee with counterfeited crocs-plastic-sandals walks next to wealthy Western tourists. Young students in Besiktas drink traditional Turkish cay and play backgammon, while later they have ... Read More »

Turkey: A Country Torn Between Going East or West

By Yuri van Hoef With corruption scandals coming to light in December 2013, Istanbul’s Taksim square once again became the site of major anti-government protests. Earlier, in May 2013, what started as a small environmental protest against the demolition of parts of the park, quickly escalated into full-blown protests against the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ... Read More »

Where the judge harms you more than the gang

Dubai. The name stands for wealth, opportunities and shiny facades. But how does the oil-rich gulf country actually run and think? Eight young men just got jailed for up to one year for posting a parody internet in the internet. The sharia law and strict judges have no sense of humour when it comes to issues of “national security”. The ... Read More »

The Iranian Pariah

While the newly elected president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, is evoking hope for a new détente between his country and the U.S., there is one group of Iranians that desperately longs for change inside: Members of the Baha’i faith. Persecuted and repressed ever since, the new tone of President Rohani makes them dream about peace and official recognition in the ... Read More »

Our Future is Bright

Overpopulation, global food shortages and water wars. What the future will be like is unclear, but it will most likely be grim. The current trajectory of humankind is heading towards utter disaster. The aforementioned examples will be determining the face of our future world. Right. Doomsday predictions have been around ever since mankind learn the ability to speak, but so ... Read More »

Rape and Sexual Violence in Syria’s Civil War

The sheer brutality of the ongoing Syrian civil war is often demonstrated by two figures: 70,000 killed people and over one million refugees since the conflict´s outburst in March 2011, after an angered crowd went on the streets to show their disgrace about the arrest and torture of teenage boys who were bold enough to spray anti-Bashar slogans on a ... Read More »

Studying Abroad: Turkey 3

Even though many Europeans consider the touristic cities at the Mediterranean Sea as ‘Western’ and, therefore, as an extension of their own country – which is true to a certain extent, as you can talk in any language you desire with the local population – there are some striking differences between the ‘real’ Turkey and Western Europe. Foremost, it could ... Read More »

Marriage as Last Resort

After two years of on-going war in Syria news from crisis area leave us increasingly indifferent. But the suffering continues for those affected, whether in Syria or in the refugee camps in the neighbouring countries. Coping with the refugee life is a struggle and some families have to opt for drastic measures to ensure an income. Child marriage is becoming ... Read More »

Turkey is, but are the Turkish ready for peace?

“Watch out for Kurds, they bad. They steal you. Me no like Kurds.” The trucker that gave me a ride is telling me this with an expression of disgust on his face. “They different, bad people.” The unilateral ceasefire declared by the PKK last Saturday is a step in the right direction and gives the impression that after 30 years ... Read More »

Studying Abroad: TURKEY 2

A common expression in Turkey is ‘smoke like a Turk’, since cigarettes are abundantly present in Ankara. Actually, I still need to meet the first Turkish man who is not smoking. An additional expression  linked to Turkey can be introduced: demonstrate like a Turk. In the first couple of weeks I was surprised by the number of people discussing politics. ... Read More »