Hello again! Welcome to Part 2 of the 22QUESTIONS: Third Year Exchange Students. (This is a continuation from the first part of 22 QUESTIONS: Third Year Exchange Students!)
Next up, we have Jeremy Vercken from France and Selin Sevim from Turkey!
This time, I tried changing things up by starting off with Selin and Jeremy picking a number between 1-22. I thought it was going to be interesting, except I ended up reading the questions in some sort of order after trying to be “different and interesting.” If you (you awesome readers) can think of an interesting method of doing the 22Questions, feel free to comment at the bottom of the post.
To start off, I would like to give a warm welcome to Selin from Turkey and Jeremy from France!
Location of Interview: Carleton University, Building 22, at the end of the street by First Year Studio [Note to self: pick a quieter spot. It’s hard to hold an interview with doors slamming as people walk in and out of their classrooms.]
Time: November 20, 2014 at 13:00
Anna Leung: Pick a number from 1 to 22. Who would like to go first?
Selin Sevim: Thirteen.
AL: Who is the most interesting person you have met in the architecture program?
SS: Most interesting person…that’s a hard question.
Jeremy Vercken: Yeah, we haven’t met many teachers here.
AL: It could be a friend, or a classmate.
SS: Haha! That’s really hard! Ooh…I dunno. I don’t know.
AL: Well, anyone that you enjoyed being around or stood out to you?
SS: It could be Jeremy.
AL: Your turn, Jeremy. Pick a number from 1 to 22.
AL: #22. Alright the last question. One thing on your wishlist / bucket list you want to do before leaving Ottawa?
JV: I would like to travel to Mont Tremblant to see the nature. To go skiing. And I would like to see the Northern Lights. I would like to make it there, but I don’t have enough time.
SS: I’d like to see more of the lights, but I think it’s impossible in Ottawa.
AL: Yeah, unfortunately. But since you have a whole year [to Selin] you can travel to the North.
SS: Hahaha! And maybe send you [Jeremy] pictures of them! But it’s about Canada to see the Northern Lights.
AL: Describe your all-nighter outfit.
SS: I don’t really have an all-nighter outfit. Just something I’d wear during the day.
JV: I would have a sweatshirt and maybe bring a pillow, so I can have a little break. I don’t like to have all-nighters. I tend to finish my work at 3 to 4 in the morning.
AL: Ahh. That means you have really good time-management!
JV: I think I try to do that because I really love sleeping.
AL: What is the name of your university and application process to get into your architecture program in your hometown?
SS: My university is Istanbul Technical University. To get into architecture in my university, you need to pass a huge exam it’s like 3 million–
Don Dimanlig: What are you guys doing?
AL: Oh we’re doing 22 Questions right now.
DD: Oh ok. [holds up yogurt cup that I placed on the Foosball table] Cuz I thought —
AL: Oh yeah…no. It’s not garbage.
SS: It’s one of the three largest universities in the state, so you have to be really hard-working, especially my school is a technical school in the state.
AL: So do you need a portfolio?
SS: No, no portfolio. But you have to take this exam but it’s like 3 million people taking this exam. It’s really competitive.
AL: So after high school you have take this exam.
SS: Yeah and you have to be in the first thousand to get into my university’s architecture program.
AL: Wow, that’s tough! Good job!
SS: And it’s not related to architecture. You don’t need to submit a portfolio, but you have to take a math, chemistry…it’s really challenging.
JV: They [Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Paris-Malaquais] send us a subject you take home to do it. And so for me the subject was take an onion and draw a model and transition it. It takes about 3 days to do something and after that we go to the first lecture…It’s like 200 applicants for 100 places. And then we get an interview with 2 architects. They asked us questions like: “Why do you want to be an architect” and other things. There are two steps in applying.
AL: So what are you best-known for in studio?
JV: I’m best for known for doing sketches and watercolours.
AL: I also know that you’re quite known to use a lot of colours in your drawings.
JV: For plans, sections I use colours.
SS: Mine would be collage. I think my projects and models are kind of weird.
JV: Weird? You like to make a lot of shapes, like Zaha Hadid.
SS: Haha! But yeah. Collaging.
AL: What is one thing you can do in your hometown that you can’t in Ottawa?
JV: Piano. I have a piano in my room…and this piano is out of tune. It’s so frustrating.
AL: But have you ever played on it?
JV: Yeah I have.
AL: You should do a performance one day!
JV + SS: Hahaha!
SS: In Istanbul we have so many cats everywhere. And in my school we have 50 cats, maybe more. They’re in studio. For example, if we were to do this interview in Istanbul, we’d have cats rights here beside us. I’m used to seeing the cats a lot.
JV: In France after studio every student goes out to have a beer. They go to grab a drink at 5PM. We all drink something. And here it’s impossible. It was a weird change here.
AL: Why did you choose Carleton’s architecture program?
JV: Well I chose Canada in general because I wanted to discover this country. I didn’t know many things about this school. I heard of McGill in Montreal. But I didn’t know the specifics and it has a very short exchange program. So I chose Canada to see a new country.
AL: And do you like it so far?
JV: Yeah I do.
SS: Mine is the same actually. I wanted to improve my English and before I came here, I didn’t know much about Canada. just heard that its architecture program is really good.
AL: So basically, for you two it’s more about experiencing and finding out what Canada is like.
SS: And I just wanted to travel into a whole different continent.
JV: Yeah me too.
AL: Ok! Next question, pencil or pens?
JV: Both of them.
AL: So no favourites between pens or pencils?
SS: I think pens. It’s smooth, especially 0.2.
AL: Describe your first day in Studio.
SS: Ah yeah, I just remember every second of it.
JV: I don’t remember too much.
JV: I was very impressed with the atmosphere, because it’s quite different. Because in France we don’t work in studio. We work at home most of the time. So, this was like bird’s nest. Everybody were chatting, talking…it was very impressive.
AL: It was actually very interesting cuz a lot of us treat this place like our second home.
SS: My first day… On my first day, I just met a few people and it was like a first day at school.
AL: It was a little scary, right?
SS: No, not scary. I was so excited. I was not scared. But I was just scared of my English, if I could not communicate — and what I would do. That part was scary. But except I met you [turns to Jeremy]. And yeah it was nice.
AL: What is your favourite expression that you say? Something that you always say in your language.
SS: I say oh ha. Like: “Oh, ha! WOW!” Oh, ha.
JV: I say putain (spelling?). It’s like tabarnak (spelling?) in French Quebecois.
AL: Uhhhhh… [Huh???]
SS: Do you know French?
AL: Nope, not very well.
JV: It’s like shit. [As in: Oh shit]
AL: Ah ok. Haha! I don’t know if I can write that in the blog though!
AL: If you can live inside the architecture school, where will it be?
JV: You mean in this building? Maybe this floor… Or maybe The Hub.
SS: Actually, the Pit. I can build my space there. It will be very cozy.
AL: What is something you can never be caught wearing in studio?
JV: Ah I don’t know how to say it in English… [draws out a tanktop]
AL: A tanktop?
SS: I wouldn’t wear… I don’t like Uggs.
AL: Don’t like it? [everyone laughs] Yeah not a lot of people like them, but they’re really comfortable (so that’s why they’re still so popular).
JV: Hmmm yeah, I see a lot of people wearing them.
AL: Yeah, because they’re warm and comfortable– mostly girls wear them.
AL: What is your most embarrassing situation in studio / on Carleton University’s campus?
JV: Language difficulties sometimes. People don’t understand me. But it’s not too embarrassing.
AL: Yeah. It’s just part of life.
JV: Yeah, I wouldn’t say that it’s embarrassing. Selin? Do you have something to say to that?
SS: I think it might be my English because sometimes I have to ask someone… If someone is speaking too fast and if they’re telling me something interesting and I don’t understand, I will have to ask: “Could you repeat it to me again?” So it’s a little embarrassing.
AL: Well, I mean if I spoke in Turkish or Arabic or French, I would be saying everything incorrectly. Sometimes it’s a language barrier.
AL: Ok, next question… Favourite place in Ottawa, how and when did you find it?
JV: My favourite is on Elgin Street. There are nice pubs. And I also like the Byward Market, and the first week I arrived in Ottawa, I was in the hostel waiting for my room, and I entered into the market and saw all these places. It was nice.
SS: Have you been to Bank Street?
AL: Bank Street? Yup!
SS: The side-roads off Bank Street are really interesting. Sometimes I’m meeting some of my friends in those places.
AL: I don’t know, I wouldn’t think of those places. Maybe I’ve been here for 3 years, but it’s nice to see the Byward Market and Bank Street to be one of your favourite places. [I take these places for granted.]
JV: But there’s not too many places in Ottawa.
AL: I know! It’s not like in France and Turkey! We have so little people!
SS: Actually the biggest…my expectation was like– I was expecting to see more dynamic streets, more places. I was kinda–
AL: You were kind of disappointed–
SS: I wouldn’t say it like that, but I was kinda sad that it wasn’t what I expected. This was an expectation.
AL: It is hard because Ottawa isn’t exactly a big city. We only have about 900 000 people and so around 9 o’clock everything closes down. The streets get quiet. But one thing I like about Ottawa — and maybe you two, too. People here are really nice. They’re really kind. Sometimes when you look like you’re looking for something, they come to you and they ask.
SS: It’s very peaceful and people are so nice towards each other. It’s great.
JV: Just like everyone in Canada.
AL: What do think of the Canadian English accent?
JV: For me, it’s like the American one. I don’t know the difference. It’s a very subtle difference. For me, it’s almost the same.
SS: I think I like the Canadian accent because it sounds nicer compared to the American accent.
AL: So you do see the difference?
SS: Yeah. I think it’s different!
JV: I don’t make the difference. When I’m watching How I Met Your Mother, there’s a Canadian in there–
SS: Robin? Haha!
JV: And I don’t make difference. And she’s Canadian.
SS: I think it sounds different. Yeah.
AL: When you arrive home what will be the first thing you will tell family / friends about Carleton’s architecture program?
JV: It’s very intense. You do a lot of models. Physical models.
AL: So you don’t really do that a lot in France?
JV: Not as much as here.
SS: Yeah, models. And also I really like how the people know their responsibilities. Because in my school, if our professors give us something as a checklist– I mean a to-do list, we usually complete half of them. But in here people know their responsibilities and they try to do their best. So I’m kinda impressed. It’s really nice. I think when I go back home, it’s going to be the first thing I tell my friends. Yeah.
JV: And I think the feedback the teachers give us is amazing here. Very aware of how we feel in the architecture school. In France, it’s not the same because it’s a public school.
AL: So how would you say it’s different?
JV: I mean we have 3 classes a week. Whereas (in France) we have 1 or 2 classes a week.
AL: Oooh!! So you don’t get to talk to them (the Studio profs) as often, right?
JV: That’s right. And you’re very close to them and you can talk if you have a problem. Because in France you don’t have this kind of time. And the working atmosphere and facilities are very good. You have space.
AL: Yeah, we do have a lot of space.
SS: I think I this building. It’s nice. I love this building.
AL: Other than your laptop / phone, what is your must-have tool you can never go to studio without?
JV: Umm. Pencils and pens and some paper to draw. I don’t need a laptop. There’s a computer room anyway.
AL: So always something you can use to write with.
SS: I think most probably my sketchbook. I usually carry it around.
AL: Sketchbooks are very important like pens, pencils, and paper. Super important. So you don’t really use a sketchbook that often, Jeremy?
JV: No I don’t like it. I draw on a napkin– and I usually do that with my family when I’m in a bistro or cafe. We have a napkin and paper and I can draw on it. It’s a better way to communicate my ideas.
AL: Name something different that you got to experience in this studio that you haven’t had before.
JV: People eating in the school.
SS: Yeah! Oh haha!!
JV: People eating all the time and doing everything. Like they’re watching videos and eating in the studio. Playing games. It’s completely different.
AL: Than in France.
JV: Of course.
AL: In France, you don’t really eat in studio.
JV: No. There’s a place you can eat like The Hub, and we can go out to a restaurant or take a sandwich outside. It’s not as cold as here. So there’s a huge courtyard garden we often have lunch outside.
SS: Love it when Oliver and Jason have their own places. Own home. When I go to their bay I feel like: “Oh yeah I’m in Oliver’s home! Or in Jason’s home!” So I like how people really adapt to studio as their place because it’s really nice. Yes, we are spending our time in studio, but you’re adapting to studio as a place where you can do everything. I really like that idea. It’s really cozy!
AL: It’s really interesting to hear different views from people. Especially you guys from a different country…we get to hear people say: Oh you get to eat in studio, or sleep, get a home in there, but to hear someone else from a different country tell us that, it’s a big thing for us, too.
SS: For us in our school, people are protesting about something, because in my school, our administrator closed the school after 12. So if you wanted to stay, you can’t stay. And if you wanted to do a project in studio, you can’t do it. People are pretty strict about it. So I dunno what’s going to happen when I’m back.
JV: Our school, by the way, closes at 6.
SS: Maybe 9. I said 12, but it could be 9 or 10…I don’t remember. But you can’t stay 24/7.
AL: I mean for myself and all of us, we’re really lucky that it’s open every single day.
AL: What is something you forgot to pack when you arrived in Canada?
JV: Sweatshirts…and all my winter stuff…
SS: But you’re in Canada!! You can’t forget this!!
JV: Yeah I know. I had one sweatshirt and I bought the other one here. Yeah that’s what…
AL: You’re going to buy a little more?
JV: Well I bought a really warm coat in Boston. And it’s enough. I’m leaving in 4 weeks anyway.
AL: Ah that’s true.
JV: I won’t be living in the winter.
AL: You’re lucky you get to leave in the beginning of the winter. Whereas you’re [turns to Selin] have to do the entire winter!
SS: I’m going to survive here!
AL: What about you, Selin?
SS: I think…I don’t have…it was ok. My parents are kinda like: “Did you get this? Did you get that?”
AL: So you’re good!
SS: Yeah, I’m good! Haha!
AL: What is a favourite Canada food you would recommend to everyone?
JV: Is there Canadian food?
SS + AL: Hahahaha!
JV: I don’t know what’s Canadian food. Really, I don’t know.
AL: Ahhh…. Tim Hortons? [Even I don’t think this an appropriate suggestion to Canadian food…] Timbits. Those little donut balls.
SS: Oh yeah! Have you tried it?
JV: Oh yup. Ok. Oh yes. They’re good.
AL: Are you saying that to make me happy?
JV: Is it really Canadian? Or American?
AL: It was this Canadian company that first started off making those timbits.
JV: Yeah this one is very good. And the poutine.
AL: Hmmm…the poutine with the cheese curds, the gravy, and the fries.
JV: It’s a bit heavy, but it’s good.
SS: Yeah the timbits for me.
AL: What about the beer?
JV: Hmmm. It’s ok.
SS: It’s ok.
JV: It’s good.
AL: What is something you don’t quite understand about Canadian culture?
JV: It’s very hard, this question! I think it’s very interesting with the culture because of the contradiction between the English and French Quebecois, and the richness of this country. Yes, the richness of the country.
AL: So the diversity–
JV: The diversity, and the fact that all immigrants live quite well in Canada. Whereas in France, it’s more complicated. The right wing–we have a lot of problems in France. In Europe there’s racism, so that’s why a lot of the Black French community came to Canada. And a lot of immigrants from France come to Canada, because it’s very easy to live here. There’s less discrimination.
AL: And I think this our identity.
SS: And I think this is something that defines Canada. When we say Canada, it means that the people live together, work together, are kind to each other. And I was just talking to my mom about this thing. Because we have huge problems about this. We don’t have so many immigrants, but in Turkey we have so many diverse people. In Turkey, people are quite…judgmental to each other. But in here: Awesome. Everyone. I mean in here people are really helpful and people are really kind.
AL: Thank you!
SS: Yeah, I’m really impressed. I just talked to my mom about this before we started this.
SS: It’s totally interesting. We should learn how to do how you’re doing it. Because this is nature, I mean everyone is from different places, so you can’t expect everyone to be you, yourself. It’s me, it’s you, so I can’t expect you to be like me. So, this is the point. If people are really aware of this, I love this part.
JV: Canada has strong values.
AL: Thank you!
JV: I really respect this. People are really respectful in Canada.
AL: What is an expression that we use that you find weird?
JV: What you say… I don’t know… You use: “Oh my god,” “oh my goodness,” “oh my gosh,” a lot.
SS: I think compared to Turkey, we use a lot of our hands, our expressions. I don’t know. I can’t think of one.
AL: I’ll go with yours. We do say “oh my god,” “oh my goodness,” and “oh my gosh,” a lot.
AL: Oh! So we’re done our questions! Thank you both very much!!
Wow. I can’t believe we were done this interview. It felt too short, maybe next time we should have 222 questions! Just joking!
Thank you Jeremy and Selin for your responses for the 22Questions! It was truly an insightful interview, not just about how you have adapted to Canada and Building 22, but also how you have embraced our culture. It was an honour to display your insights for such a huge community around us, and let others know how much depth and determination you have shown to live and work in a different country, away from the comfort of your friends and family.
Most importantly, it was not just only about how you have gotten to be part of Building 22 and have your memories engraved within the hearts and people in the school, coming to Carleton’s architecture program was also a chance for us to actively include everyone in this program, regardless of how long or short time will be spent with us. All in all, we have been incredibly fortunate and delighted to have shared our friendships with you all! And I hope to say that you have positive memories and stories to bring back home with you to tell your friends and family about us!
Wish you all the best, and hope to see you again!