You, Times Two.

Meet Burak, SLE Associate Director.

My name is Burak Ceyhun Karaca.

I am a part of the Student Language Exchange.

I am a student at Brown University.

I have valuable friends, incredible memories, and most importantly, vast possibilities laying out in front of me. And I am aware that all of these are thanks to my being able to speak two languages, Turkish and English.

As a Turkish proverb goes: One language one person, two languages two people.

Learning a new language is fun! If you had learned Turkish the way I learned English, everything would start with fascination. A word you hear on TV, a magazine ad in a foreign language… You would be infatuated with it. Tracing after those words, you would stumble upon a culture that is, at first glimpse, both intriguing and surreal. You would question many things. “Why do people do that?”, you would wonder.

tumblr_inline_n5mck1mUTv1s7s0qtBut as you continue learning, you would understand the values and customs of the people, and what was strange would start making sense. Before you know it you would be having balık ekmek & ayran (a fried fish sandwich and a salty drink made from yoghurt) instead of fast food when you are in a hurry. You would cry watching old Turkish romances and start reading post-modern writers. You would drink your tea from the “thin-waisted glass” and you would ask for a Turkish delight on the side whenever you order coffee. You would end up complaining about the coffee no matter how good it was.

Learning a language is about being immersed in a culture. It is an adventure, the discovering of a new world. There is no end to new experiences once you start.

What’s more— while having so much fun, you will increase your value to yourself and your community, your impact, twofold. You will develop beyond your current limits. Learning a language opens up possibilities that were previously out-of-reach.

This is precisely why I have joined SLE. I know first-hand that learning a new language can change a person’s life. Looking at it from this perspective, what we do at SLE allows students to experience the unique. We are connecting them to millions of other speakers across the world. New lands, new people, new stories, new opportunities, new problems to solve… All of this comes with learning a new language.

We are turning a person into two people. After all, true change can only be achieved by changing people’s perspectives, and SLE is nothing if not a life-changing experience.


Burak is from Turkey. He is a Mechanical Engineering concentrator at Brown University. He likes talking to people, tasting new food and listening to rock music. ( I also dislike talking about myself in the third person.)