Turkey is the number one destination for young Somalis studying abroad, Somalia’s public works, reconstruction and housing minister has revealed.
“Even if they are offered the United States or the West, they don’t choose them,” Sadiq Abdullahi Abdi told Anadolu Agency.
“Right now, they all prefer to study here, in Turkey.”
Speaking in Istanbul following a reunion of international alumni from Turkish universities, Abdi said that Turkey has a lot of qualities and culture that make it unique in the world.
Around 1,000 Somali students are currently studying in Turkish educational institutions, he said.
“And they are studying in all fields: medicine, engineering, and agriculture,” and others, he added.
Abdi earned his master’s degree in electronics and electrical engineering at Ankara’s Middle East Technical University in 2006.
He highlighted that Turkey’s education quality, social structure, and cultural values attract international students, especially from Somalia.
“Because the cultural values are stronger than when you study outside. So most of the students even from the military came here for better training.”
‘Home away from home’
About his student life in Ankara, Abdi said: “During the time I studied here I felt Turkey was like a home away from home. Students, teachers, and neighbors all were kind and very welcoming.”
He also stressed the quality of engineering studies in Turkey, saying: “I can guess it is number one.”
“So whoever studies here can feel Turkey is a very, very good country to study in, especially in engineering and also other sectors.”
He also advised international students now in Turkey to “choose the friends that will shape your life for the better. Remember the friends you choose today forever, and they may be the ones who shape Turkey and the world for the better.”
On Turkish-Somali relations, Abdi underlined: “Turkey has transformed Somalia like never before, from education to development to infrastructure development. And most importantly boosted trade ties.”
“I appreciate the government and people of Turkey for their support and their collaboration. I see there is a light for a better future for Somali-Turkish relations and humanity.”
He mentioned that a ministerial-level meeting between Somalia and Turkey will be held in Turkey early next year.
“I am one of the ministers who will come here on Jan. 13. And we will look forward to stronger trade relations,” he added.