Sahin is a member of a 43-person delegation from Turkey taking English language classes at NOVA’s American Culture and Language Institute (ACLI). Thanks to Stacey Bustillos in the Office of Global Studies and Programs, Sahin met NOVA Geography Instructor David Miller who invited Sahin to address his political geography class on August 27.
Sahin’s presentation introduced students to the physical geography and geopolitics of Turkey. One of his first slides helped students understand Turkey’s size as compared to the United States. A population of 76 million people, Turkey has more inhabitants than every other country in Europe, except for Russia and Germany. Other slides revealed the cultural landscape of Turkey, including mountain villages, interstate-like highways, huge hydroelectric and industrial projects.
Many of the slides featured famous tourist attractions. Tourists from Europe, and increasingly America, visit Turkey’s beaches, nature parks, historic sites and the city of Istanbul each year. Sahin’s photographs included the region of Cappadocia, where mushroom shaped rock pillars and Byzantine churches cut into rock dot the landscape. Near the end of the presentation, he showed photographs of St. Nicholas’ (aka Santa Claus) hometown of Demre, located on Turkey’s southern coast.
The presentation ended with an overview of Turkish cuisine, such as Turkish coffee, kebab, baklava and Turkish delight (a type of candy). Sahin shared some Turkish delight, which he had brought from Turkey, with the students. While they were eating, he fielded questions. This produced lively discussions on such geopolitical topics as Turkey’s Kurdish minority and Turkey’s border with war-torn Syria. Students came away with a better understanding of Turkey’s geography and people.