Zeliha Kilic is a global grad from Turkey and is a fifth year Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Mathematics. Her research interests are in fluid dynamics and mathematical physics.
What made you choose UNC/NC when deciding on a program/place to study?
When I was looking for grad schools, I noticed that a very well-known female algebra professor in Turkey received her doctoral degree from UNC. With that inspiration, I applied for grad school here. I see myself being very fortunate to be here.
What is the most different thing you’ve seen or experienced since being here in comparison to your home country?
I am so grateful and happy about the fact that people are so welcoming and interested in getting to know us as international students. However, it is kind of hard for me to get used to a different way of communicating. In the area that I was raised in Turkey, you would be asked at least twice when you are offered some food or when you are approached with an idea for weekend plans, just so that the person asking you can make you feel like they really want you to be there or they’re at least considering the possibility that you might be shy. But here, instead it is more structured. I miss being asked something more than once!
What is something you wish you had known before moving here?
I wish I had known that the downtown area here is not really the kind of downtown that I’m used to, based on my past experiences. I grew up in Istanbul and I love feeling like I’m a tiny part of a huge crowd. It’s hard to experience that feeling here, unless you keep track of state fairs and big parties in order to interact with more people. At the same time, it is absolutely awesome for me to be well-focused on my research, so that’s not really a disadvantage!
Where is a place in your home country that every tourist should visit and why?
They should absolutely come to Istanbul if they are interested in seeing how modern life meets with the history of Turkey. Besides that, my parents are from Ordu, a city in the Black Sea region. Tourists will enjoy the residents’ warm hospitality, and will find that the old folks’ unique sense of humor is hilarious. This region also offers the most amazing hiking experiences, it is really beautiful.