My name is Nasrine Bekhedda. I am from Bechar. And I am currently pursuing my master studies in Ankara, Turkey. I am an active person who took parts in lot of events locally and internationally. I have been active in social work since high school and I took leadership positions in more than 3 NGOs both in Algeria and in Turkey. I majored in biology at Tahri Mohamed Bechar University from 2015-2018 and graduated with honor.
Why Turkey ?
As many young ambitious students I have always aimed to study abroad. Before graduating I started looking for fully funded scholarships in europe and I found out about the Turkish scholarship. My parents were very encouraged by the fact that Turkey is a muslim safe county. And after my personal experience in Turkey within the AIESEC project in summer 2017, I decided to apply for the scholarship. Honestly, my biggest motivation to study in Turkey and not another country is the fully funded scholarship.
What language do you use?
In Turkey, the percentage of people who can speak foreign languages is low compared to us. That is why leaning Turkish would make your life much more easier here. Leaning Turkish is not so hard and for us as north Africans who can already speak three languages it is easier. Knowing Turkish language is not mandatory to apply and get the the turkish scholarship because it already provides a full Turkish course from A1 to C1 during the first academic year and the course is obligatory for all the students who don’t speak Turkish. Always remember that an extra language is always desired for your career development regardless of your major.
What are you studying?
I am doing my master degree in biotechnology, the major I have always wanted to study. Simply, it is about exploring the natural living world to create goods for humanity. Like exploring the waste-degrading bacteria for remediation and toxin-producing living organisms for bio-based pesticides or using microorganisms to produce vaccines and medicines ext. I believe that to preserve our planet and at the same time continue to develop we need to transit to a bio-based economy and open new “bio-markets” and that is why I wanted to research in this field.
How did you apply to this scholarship ?
As I mentioned earlier I applied for the Turkish scholarship to continue my studies in Turkey. The application is online and you do not need to translate any paper before the final acceptance. It is easy to apply and there is tons of videos in several languages about the application steps (both officiel videos from the scholarship committee itself and videos shared by alumnas).
Briefly, after filling up all your personal information about your education, job experience and achievements in the system the application form opens. You need then to upload your recommendation letters (preferably 2) and write your motivation letter (questions are displayed and you can write your answer in the response box. Questions are about why your chose Turkey and the major and about your future plans and perspectives). Finaly, you choose the universities and submit your application.
The first evaluation step can take up to 2 months (sometimes three). The interview letters are sent by email and the day and time of interview are fixed. Then the final acceptance emails will be sent in July-August.
To increase your chances in winning the scholarship you need to strengthen your CV with extracurricular activities and maintain a high GPA at school. The more your CV and application stands out the more your chances increase.
What did you learn during your master studies ?
I took biotechnology classes including genetics, bioinformatics, biochemistry, microbiology, ethics of science, methodology, gene transfer techniques and application, bioenergy, PCR analysis approaches and so on.
Because I am doing a master with thesis I entered the laboratory as a full time student after finishing all the required lessons and started working on my thesis topic.
Any Challenges ?
Although the monthly stipend is not so high, I didn’t face any serious economic problems by spending money logically. But the most challenging thing is the instability of the currency. You have to keep in track all the time if you want to buy tickets or travel for example. Turkey is not an expensive country comparing to Europe and as a student you have several discounts. Even in the markets they have the notion “student price”. Culturally talking, turkish people are generally friendly and their culture is not so different from ours.
What are your perspectives?
In a short term, I want to profit the maximum from this research year. I aim to finish my thesis and publish a paper related to it before leaving the lab. I also aim to learn as much as I can and develop myself in the best way possible to get better PhD chances.
What are your tips to students willing to come studying in Turkey?
I have three advices based on my personal experience. First, you need to know what you are looking for and make sure that studying in Turkey will help you reach your goals (short or long term goals). Second, even if you will study in English, you need to learn basic Turkish to get full advantage of your stay in Turkey. Third, don’t be afraid of trying new things. Discovering a new culture, meeting new people and getting out of your comfort zone will always help you to build a stronger and more resilient personality and this is so important for your career.