I’m Gamze, I’m a Turkish exchange student at SFSU. I’ll try to share my experience as much as I can during my exchange here. I’ve been in San Francisco for a month so now I’ve enough experiences to share with you.
Like everyone else, I’ll start with my expectations. Actually, I was thinking that I would have great time in San Francisco before I came here. I was really excited about that, I thought I was going have the time of my life. Then I came here: I couldn’t find a housing (I thought everybody was rude and selfish when I was looking for a housing), I was staying in Pleasant Hill in my first week (which takes more than one hour by BART. I was basically dying everyday), I was really jetlagged, I got cold, I was shocked when I saw all the homeless people all around the city, and I judged the dirt in the city really much, and I wasn’t comfortable around the people that I’ve just met, I couldn’t find anything to eat and basically didn’t have a meal for a week. In other words, I had a culture shock. I would never think that I’d have a culture shock, but here I was..
Then finally, I found a place to live. I realized that I was exaggerating people’s reactions to me when I was looking for a housing. I moved in there, which is really close to the campus and all of my friends. Then I started to join the events (because I wasn’t living outside of the city anymore), I met more and more people every day, and I really liked them. I was thinking that they would never be like my friends back at home, but now I’m thinking that they are going to be more than that… After that, I really spent time in the city (downtown) and I had friends in there. Homeless friends. I also realized that homeless people are not dangerous at all, actually they are pretty nice and friendly. I was really careful about them when I first came here because of the perception of homeless people back in Turkey. However, I understood that they are just nice people who don’t harm anyone. Now I’m much more comfortable when I’m in the city center, exploring the city. However, I still have problems with finding delicious food here because I’m really used to the traditional Turkish food. I’m not going to lie, I miss that really much. But all the other good aspects here in San Francisco make me forget about my food deprivation :P
To conclude, the idea of having a culture shock was not close to me, but I had that. It is still weird to think about that. However, the good thing is that, it only took one week for me to get over my disappointment and realize that my dreams are coming true.