by Amanda Medole
With the diverse population that makes up America, many of us are accustomed to numerous cultures and ways of life. Since Niagara Falls is home to one of the seven natural wonders of the world, the city attracts tourists from all over who add a sense of diversity to Western New York.
One group of individuals who travel miles to visit Niagara Falls are Turks. Located on the outskirts of Niagara Falls, in the City of Buffalo, exists a center where Turks and people of other ethnicities can gather to learn more about the Turkish culture. Members of the Turkish Cultural Center define the center as a non-profit organization dedicated to promote intercultural dialog, peace, mutual respect and understanding in the local community The center provides an environment for people of all ethnicities to gather once a month to enjoy the center's popular Turkish coffee nights.
"It is a place where people can come and learn more about us and the culture of Turkey," proclaims Aysenur Ersoy, a regular attendee of the coffee nights.
The center, located less than an hour away from Niagara Falls, provides a number of people with a preview of Turkey through various presentations on the country's popular cities, foods and traditions.
As knowledge of the Turkish Cultural Center begins to expand, knowledge of Turkey culture among students attending Niagara University is beginning to expand as well. Beginning in the summer of 2012, Mustafa Gokcek, a history professor at the university, developed a study abroad program for students to travel to Istanbul, Turkey. The study abroad experience has allowed numerous students to gain a better understanding of Turkey and its culture. "The trip to Turkey was better than I could have ever imagined. My viewpoint of the world has significantly changed after learning about such a unique culture," states James Hefke, Niagara University alumnus who attended the first trip to Turkey. The next study abroad trip Gokcek plans to take students on is coming up in June. With the various study abroad trips Niagara University offers, students are able to gain a larger perspective on different cultures.
For those who are unable to study abroad, but are interested in learning more about a specific culture, attending the Turkish Cultural Center provides an experience and insight of Turkish culture without having to step foot on a plane. For more information about this center, call 716-844-8113 or visit the Turkish Cultural Center at 1517 Kenmore Ave., Buffalo.