AB Üniversiteleri Erasmus Koordinatörlerinin Türk Üniversitelerinin Erasmus Öğrenci Değişim Programına Katılımı ve Türk Erasmus Öğrencileri Algısı/The Perception of Erasmus Coordinators of EU Universities on Turkish Universities
Anahtar Kelimeler: Erasmus programi, Erasmus koordinatörleri, Avrupa Birliği Erasmus öğrencileri, Türk Erasmus öğrencileri.
The subject of this study is to take a look at the participation of Erasmus coordinators from European Union universities to Turkey's Erasmus program and their perception of Turkish Erasmus students. Purpose: This study aims at taking a look at the perception of Erasmus coordinators from European Union universities to Turkish Erasmus students, the problems they experience with these students and identifying their suggestions for the Turkish students to benefit better from the Erasmus program. It also aims at identifying why EU students prefer and do not prefer Turkish universities as Erasmus students through the perception of Erasmus coordinators and suggesting the possible ways to attract EU Erasmus students to Turkish universities, taking the EU coordinators' suggestions as the basis. Method: The focal point of our study consists of EU universities' Erasmus coordinators. EU Erasmus coordinators who participated in ERACON 2013 International Erasmus Coordinators Conference), in Ponzan/ Poland have been selected as examples. A total of 227 EU University Erasmus coordinators have participated in the conference and a survey was given to 73 people, who were Turkish students and have accepted to take our survey. The survey form used consists of two parts which are about research on quality and quantity. The first part consists of nine close ended quantitative research questions prepared by the five point likert scale, directed at evaluating thoughts of Turkish Erasmus students on their English language skills (speaking, pronunciation, writing and reading) and academic, cultural, social, economic and religious adaptation by the coordinators. The second part of the survey consists of six qualitative research questions which are densely structured. These questions were included in the survey form in the following order:
1. What do you think about the participation of universities in Turkey, which is not an EU member, to the Erasmus Program?
2. Do you experience problems with the Turkish students? If your answer is yes, please indicate in what issue/issues you experience problems.
3. Do you have any suggestions on how Turkish students may benefit more from Erasmus Exchange programs?
4. Please write what you know about the reasons why university students in Europe prefer Turkish universities within the scope of the Erasmus Exchange Program. Reasons of Preference: Reasons of Non-Preference:
5. What are your suggestions on what should be done for European students to prefer Turkish universities?
6. Do you support Turkey's being a member of the EU?
The data on the quantitative research questions were analyzed in the SPSS program and their statistical values were presented as tables and these were evaluated. The answers given to qualitative research questions were read one by one and translated into Turkish. The answers given to each question were supported by forming a cause-effect relationship under certain themes in relation to the subjects of the given answers and suggestions and with direct quotations. In addition, the researcher who attended this conference had a chance to meet and talk with EU Erasmus coordinators for five days. The information the researcher obtained as a result of these observations have been quite helpful in the interpretation of the research data. Conclusion: The following are the results achieved from the analysis of the data: It has been observed that, although EU university Erasmus coordinators have a positive perception of Turkey's inclusion in the Erasmus program and the Turkish students' harmony academically, culturally, socially, economically and religious wise, they do not have a positive perception in terms of their lack of English language skills. It has been determined that, while EU Erasmus students prefer Turkish universities, due to the attractiveness of Turkey's geographical and cultural aspects, they do not prefer them due to language, academic, cultural and economic reasons. While the students' reasons for preference are based on their individual attitudes, the reason for their non-preference of Turkish universities being based on their academic attitudes is a detail which should definitely not be ignored. The academic reasons regarded as not being attractive and repellant appears before us as an issue which should be given great thought to and should be analyzed. In addition, it is a paradox that, cultural differences are both a reason of preference and non-preference. While for some EU Erasmus students, experiencing cultural differences and exploring these can be attractive, for others these cultural differences can be worrisome and repellant.
Suggestions: In general terms, English education should undergo revision in the Turkish education system and more weight should be placed on English practice. In private terms, the students who will be sent to the Erasmus program should receive preparatory courses in English to have better language skills. In order for Turkey to better make use of the Erasmus program and to assume an active role; Turkey should attract as much students as it is sending abroad. To be able to achieve this, Turkish universities should have more courses in English for EU Erasmus students. Turkey and Turkish universities should be better promoted.
Keywords: Erasmus program, Turkey, European Union Erasmus Coordinators, European Union Erasmus Students, Turkish Erasmus Students.
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