My YCA Story | Zuhal Fidan (Turkey)

Recently, we have interviewed Zuhal Fidan, 2019 Cohort Scholar from Turkey, to share her YCA stories with us.

“I have nursed the dream of studying in China since I travelled to Beijing with my high school classmates for a 10-day youth summer camp named BIEE (Beijing International Education Exchange) in 2010. I was amazed by the culture and experienced so much fun. During my bachelor’s, I took several Chinese classes and applied for an exchange program at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics in 2017. Around this time, I travelled to several Chinese cities like Hangzhou, Suzhou, Jingdezhen, Nanjing and Beijing. After that, I continued to look at China’s further education opportunities and discovered the Yenching program. I applied after considering that YCA provides students with a flexible curriculum according to their interests, with many extracurricular activities for understanding China, the international outlook of the program, and PKU’s prestige throughout China.

My research orientation in YCA is Law and Society. I liked the ‘Women in Contemporary China’, ‘China in Transition’, and ‘Contemporary Chinese Society’ courses. I am currently writing my Master’s thesis about the impact of modernization in Turkey and China vis-à-vis female authors’ portrayal of women protagonists in their novels and stories. I chose two pioneer women authors, Halide Edip Adıvar and Ding Ling, from Turkey and China, respectively. This comparative study seeks to determine the converging and diverging aspects of modern girls/women image in both countries and some underlying factors of these similarities and differences.

This year’s winter break was much more lively compared to the last. We have more Yenching scholars in our dormitory. As COVID measures are less strict compared to the previous year, I can feel the normalization atmosphere all around the campus. That makes me happier and calmer after the stormy months of the last year.

Celebrating the Chinese New Year with Zuo and Fan laoshi and with our dear classmates was a real joy and unforgettable experience for me. This year I guess we all appreciated how important it is to have the chance of comfortably coming together and having hot-pot around the same table.

I believed I have improved in many ways since joining YCA. I am better at approaching people when we have different opinions and life experiences, and I know different countries’ cultures and festivals. I am thankful for my friends from all over the world as they are all so special, and I cherish all the time we shared in YCA. After the pandemic, I hope we can meet again to celebrate our friendships.”

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