Menekse Sakirt: Thank you Round the World Women

Last modified: Monday, June 30, 2014
To the editor:

When we first moved to Amherst from Turkey in July 2012, we did not know anybody here. We spent the summer looking for an apartment and discovering the Amherst area and cities nearby. Everything seemed new and unfamiliar. When we finally settled down, we started to feel homesick.

Like everybody else, during the first few weeks, we were fascinated by the new culture. However, the honeymoon was over and we were experiencing culture shock, stage 2: Negotiation.

In this period, differences between the old and new culture become apparent and may create anxiety. Even though we did not have significant communication problems, we could not help feeling lonely and homesick because we were not yet used to the new environment and meeting people with whom we were not familiar every day.

Soon my husband found a part-time job, my older son went back to his college in Turkey, my younger son started ARHS and I was home all alone. I found it difficult to be on my own. It was not simply my thing.

Then somebody told me UMass has this organization called Round the World Women.

I sent them an email and they immediately responded back. I did not have any UMass connection, yet they invited me to join them. I had an amazing time with them. I had a volunteer driver, Sue, who is an awesome person. She drove me to the activities every Tuesday. She became a valuable friend. Each week I learned about life here, the traffic rules, safety, health, anything related to everyday life.

The group not only helped me get over the culture shock but also helped me find my way in a new country. Thanks to it, now I have friends to talk to, to go hiking, to go out for a coffee, to call when I need help.

I am so grateful for everything Round the World Women members have given me and I would like to contribute to the group by helping the newcomers as a volunteer driver once I get my driving license. I am so lucky to have you.

Menekse Sakirt