Learn Turkish with Locals Turkish language immersion program in Adana

The beautiful smiling face on the left belongs to Turkay, a Turkish language instructor who lives in Adana. In 2022 our family had the privilege of joining Turkay and her husband ‘s family in the scenic village of Tufanbeyli, Adana for two weeks of language and cultural immersion. Whether you just want a unique and authentic Turkish experience in a hospitable place, or have serious Turkish language and culture learning goals, read on to learn if this kind of experience would benefit you or your family.

Turkay’s Ingenius Idea

After originally going to university to teach English, Turkay switched paths and began teaching Turkish to foreigners in 2005. After ten years of teaching Turkish to people from different parts of the world, she had the ingenious idea to take language and culture learning to another level by inviting people into her life and family. In 2015, she launched Learn Turkish with Locals, a business designed to provide foreigners with language learning opportunities while immersed in hands-on activities surrounded by Turks. With a little bit of help from her husband Mahmut, and her two daughters, Masal and Kumsal, Turkay has put together an exceptional program that seamlessly combines language and culture learning. Part of the success of the program is Turkay’s willingness to not only teach, but to be a learner and observer of her students. This ability to grow and adapt her program to the needs of the participants is one of the biggest reasons we highly recommend her services.

How does the program work?

In the colder months, Turkay welcomes people to the Adana city center. When temperatures soar in the summer months, Turkay invites people to Tufanbeyli, a decent-sized village tucked in the mountains of the Adana province where her husband Mahmut’s family lives. You confirm dates and length of stay with Turkay, and she handles everything else; including lodging, food and activities.

The length of stay is flexible, as are the options for activities catered to help groups, families, or individuals learn Turkish while engaging with the ins and outs of Turkish culture. Daily activities are interspersed with language lessons that are tailored to meet you at your level, whether you are a beginner or more advanced in your Turkish studies. Turkay speaks English almost fluently, so that is always an option if you absolutely don’t understand. However, she is disciplined at only using English when necessary. If you are lucky enough to visit Tufanbeyli, because you are out interacting with all kinds of people who know why you are there each day (it is a small town where everyone knows everything), using the Turkish you learn is easy and non-threatening. Even if you are in Adana, Turkay does such an excellent job planning that you will most definitely use the Turkish you are learning while you are out and about.

In addition to her gifted organization and planning, one of the things we loved most about Turkay was her ability to offer fresh insight and wisdom into the parts of Turkish culture we had never understood. No questions are off limits. She is a gracious and patient teacher who appreciates the beautiful parts of her Turkish culture, and can be honest about the more challenging aspects of this complicated place.

Turkay caters your time with her to your needs, and after running this program for almost ten years, she understands the idiosyncrasies and different personalities of foreigners. She is gifted at planning just the right amount of time for activities and breaks, and is ever-vigilant about the needs of her guests, adjusting and flexing as necessary as your days with her pass.

Our Experience

When we visited Tufanbeyli in 2022, we had lived in Turkey for nine years and felt like we knew a lot about the people and culture. We were amazed at how much we discovered, as well as how much fun it was to participate in cultural experiences. From making lahmacun (a thin, pizza-like Turkish snack) to visiting family and friends with Turkay during the Sacrifice Holiday, we were invited in to parts of the culture we had only beheld from the outside before. We helped prepare and ate almost every meal with her family and in-laws, which is where a lot of the best cultural learning took place.

Turkay’s extended family and the people of Tufanbeyli were lovely and hospitable, so much so that we felt like we were leaving family when our time ended. Even our kids (ages 15, 13, 11 and 7 at the time) were surprised at how much they enjoyed their two weeks in the village. Nightly games of dodgeball in the street with the neighborhood kids, juicy mulberries ripe for the picking on every other tree, a picnic by a country stream with freshly fried, hand-caught fish, a tractor ride through the town at dusk, ice cream treats after a sticky day with a dancing ice cream salesman, Okey lessons at a tea house, and a late-night street party with neighbors and dancing. All of these memories and so many more are still fresh in our minds and leave us so thankful for such a unique cultural experience. We cannot recommend Turkay and her Learn Turkish with Locals program highly enough.

Contact Turkay

For more information, including current costs and availability, email turkaykaran@gmail.com . Check out her Instagram profile for more pictures and testimonials from other participants.

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