Q&A with Beliz Atalay

Where are you from?
I'm from Istanbul, Turkey. It is essentially a bridge between both continents of Europe and Asia. I’m only here for the fall semester before I go back to my university at home.

What degrees have you previously earned?
I graduated with an Economics degree for my undergraduate from Bilkent University in Turkey. Now I'm studying Marketing Communications as a graduate student at Bilgi University in Istanbul. 

Why did you choose Marketing Communications?
When I was studying economics I was also working in our school's management and economics community. While working there I was in contact with many people from different fields and most of those people who graduate from economics usually go into auditing, taxes, or working in banks. After talking with all the people from the business side, I realized I wanted to be an advertiser. Then I decided to craft my career path towards that goal. In Bilkent, the communications department was based more into television and film, but that wasn't what I wanted. I started my graduate work in Marketing Communications and at the same time I was doing an advertising internship in an agency.

How does your course work in the Strategic Communication program help prepare you for the future?
In my Strategic Communication Seminar we explore current issues found in the media and come up with strategic plans to solve these problems. Individually we come up with strategic plans to solve problems in the fields of healthcare, politics, education, and interpersonal relationship issues seen in the news. Since classes are relatively small, feedback that I get back from my professors is a huge help. In Turkey the class structure is very different, school is more presentation based and we don’t get the level of feedback that I’m able to get here.

Why did you choose SUNY Oswego for your study abroad experience?
I had a few options when I was applying. SUNY schools are popular in Turkey because a lot of students study abroad there, so a lot of people know about them. I felt that SUNY Oswego would be better for my education.

What are your plans following graduation?
I'm looking to intern at Y&R in New York, where I previously worked in Turkey. They have their headquarters in New York City, so I'm looking to work there for a month or two in Strategic Planning and I'll search for jobs while I’m there. 

What advice would you offer to other graduate students?
I would recommend that students study abroad. You learn more, educationally, when studying abroad in a graduate setting. I didn't study abroad in my undergrad, but my friends who studied abroad went to travel and visit other countries, but they don't focus on their studies. When you're in grad school you know what you want to study so the classes that you take are more serious and there's more self-improvement as a graduate student.

What do you like most about SUNY Oswego and the Oswego community?
I love that people are relaxed. People aren't biased about your nationality and generally okay with who you are. Since I'm living in an international building I learn a lot about different cultures, which taught me a lot about seeing differences. As a community, this school is very open-minded and that's important. The sunsets are also beautiful, I would recommend coming here just to see them.

Beliz Alatay is a study abroad student for the Fall 2016 semester. She is expected to graduate from Bilgi University in 2017 with a degree in Marketing Communications.