Experiences of Turkish student Tolga Aslanapa in Egypt

Sent On: 
Thu, 2021-12-30
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Tolga's visit to the Pyramids


Tolga Aslanapa is a Turkish student who was born in 24 August 2000. He lives in the city of İzmir which is located on the West coast of Turkey. He is studying psychology at Ege University. He likes travelling, swimming and dancing. He was always curious about learning new cultures. Especially the Middle East culture was in his area of interest. When he was a child, he was watching the news about Egypt on television. He also searched about the history and politics of Egypt. As it is known, the political relations between Egypt and Turkey have not been good since 2013. However it is getting better in recent years. He always wondered about Egypt as he grew up following the relations between Egypt and Turkey.


Tolga came to Egypt in the summer of 2021 as part of a social responsibility project of AIESEC. His life is divided into two sections now, before and after Egypt. This experience has an important place in his heart. He made many friends and has good memories. He travelled all the important sites of Egypt, the places that impressed him the most were the temples in Luxor and Aswan. Those historical places made him feel like he was a pharaoh who ruled thousands of years ago… Also seeing the drawings in those temples that were made 2500-3000 years ago was fascinating for him. According to his experiences, Egypt is extraordinary country. It is completely the land of contrasts. While surfing in the desert in the morning of a day, you can swim in the beach in the evening. Unfortunately, he saw the social inequality, gender inequality, some freedom restrictions and he hopes all of them to get resolved. Another thing that caught his attention was the kindness of people. All Egyptian people he met were extremely nice and warm to him. He will always feel the warmth of the Egyptian people in his heart and he is looking forward to go back to Egypt as soon as possible.


When he saw the position of researcher at CAWU, he was sure that he found what was he looking for. This project was a perfect opportunity for him because the main reason why he wanted to go to Egypt was to learn about Egypt’s culture. His project manager, Ki William, was so wise and he helped him a lot. They visited historical places like the cave church in Cairo. He worked as a researcher at the office of CAWU for one and half month. He did several interviews with people who have extraordinary lives in Cairo and wrote articles about them.


The first article that he wrote is about Ahmed Fayad [Aḥmad Fayāḍ] who is a successful businessman in Cairo. He has a good job and lovely family. Unfortunately, there are huge differences between the lives of poor and rich people in Egypt. Depending on people’s financial situation, this country may be a paradise for them or it may be a very difficult place to live. Aḥmad Fayāḍ is one of the lucky ones. Tolga made this interview to understand how it feels to live in Cairo through the eyes of someone in an advantageous position.


His second article is about someone in a relatively disadvantaged position in Egypt. He did an interview with C.S. who is a gay Mexican man lives in Cairo. Tolga chose him for an interview because he realized the homophobia and gender inequality in Egypt. He wanted to do something to change it and wrote this article. C.S. came to Egypt two years ago and decided to stay here. C.S. had a lot of things to say about Cairo as a gay person. All the difficulties for a gay man who lives in Cairo is in this article. Tolga wishes that those who read C.S.'s story can empathize with him and look at life from a different perspective.



December 30, 2021

Tolga Aslanapa
Intern at the Center for Arab-West Understanding between July 12 and August 15, 2021.