Doruk Uyar: This year is a dream come true for me

Sammy Keating

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Pictured above is senior and foreign exchange student Doruk Uyar. Uyar is returning to Switzerland this summer after almost a year in the US. "I'm having such a good time that I feel like the rest of my life will be boring," Uyar said.

Unintelligent, gun carrying, fat, obnoxious, overly patriotic and country music obsessed. These were the American stereotypes senior Doruk Uyar was expecting when he arrived in Wayland last year. However, he was excited to come to the country that he had been dreaming about visiting for years.

Uyar originally wanted to study abroad because he wanted to work on his English and he disliked staying in Switzerland for such a long time, about 11 years. He knew that he wanted to study in America, and although Uyar is happy in Wayland, if he had his choice in location he would have liked to visit the west coast states of California and Oregon.

“This year is a dream come true for me because I always wanted to live in America,” Uyar said. “I could have been put anywhere in the 50 states, and by luck I got to come to Massachusetts.”

Uyar used AFS to make his way to the US. Formally known as the American Field Service, AFS is a nonprofit organization that began after World War I to escort French children in ambulances out of the country to safety. Over the years the program evolved by adding different countries and study abroad opportunities.

“I always wanted to come [to the US], and last year they finally told me I could come. I had to get interviewed, fill out documents and go to orientation camps, and then they finally accepted me, and now I’m here,” Uyar said.

While it seems that almost everyone at WHS knows who Uyar is, many students are confused about what country Uyar comes from.

“People always ask me what it’s like in Sweden, and I tell them that I don’t know because I am from Switzerland,” Uyar said. “I do have friends who went there, and they say it’s cold.”

Uyar’s favorite memories from his time in Wayland are his first day of school and his first day of crew practice. One of the most significant differences between the US and Swtizerland was his crew team.

“There is a much larger team here, and our coaches in Switzerland are volunteers; they are not hired by team. I feel like it’s more serious and professional here,” Uyar said. “I also don’t row for my school in Switzerland; I only row for a club. I like that there are school sports here, it adds a lot of school spirit to the community, which isn’t something that we have in Switzerland.”

Uyar is using the rest of his stay in the US to spend time with his friends and experience the end of his senior year at Wayland. However, he will not be going to college next year. Uyar repeated his freshman year of high school, and completed his sophomore year. This year was a gap year for Uyar, and the credits he earned will not count as his junior year. Instead, Uyar will be spending his junior year of high school next year studying in Germany, and his senior year will be back in Switzerland.

“Switzerland is boring,” Uyar said. “All the stores in the country close at 6 p.m. on weekdays, noon on Saturdays and are completely closed on Sundays. It’s awful; we have nothing to do. Unless you go over to your friend’s house, there’s not much to do. People always complain about Wayland, but it’s always greener in the neighbor’s backyard. The difference is that I’ve been to the neighbor’s backyard, and I know that it’s really greener here.”

Uyar found it difficult to make friends in Wayland because of the size and closeness of students at WHS. However, he was surprised at how nice and friendly all of the students were.

“Everyone’s so nice, but if you don’t hang out with people every day, you don’t really get to know them very well,” Uyar said.

Uyar also dislikes the amount of time his friends spend on school work and preparing for college.

“For someone who’s not going to college, I’d rather hang out with my friends and have fun. People here just want to sit down and get their work done,” Uyar said.

Another difficulty Uyar faced this year was being away from his family in Switzerland whom he has not seen since January. He missed them a lot in the winter, but the spring is a particularly tough time for him because while he would like to see his family again, he does not want to leave his friends in Wayland.

Next fall, Uyar will be starting his junior year in Germany. He wants to study abroad more and thinks that learning German will be good for his education. Switzerland has four national languages, German, French, Italian and Romansh. While Uyar is fluent in Turkish, French and English, he only speaks a little German, which is the most common language in Switzerland.

“I don’t know if I want to work in Switzerland, but having German on my resume will definitely help me in the future,” Uyar said.

After living in Wayland for close to a year, Uyar’s overall impression of the town is a positive one.

“I’m having such a good time that I feel like the rest of my life is going to be boring,” Uyar said.