Radio, TV, Film Major on Choosing Rowan from Istanbul, Turkey & Tips for International Students

Eren stands for a portrait in the library.

Academic and Networking Opportunities and Rowan’s Cost Makes It a Strong Fit for This International Student

Meet Eren Barokas, a sophomore Radio Television Film major and international student from Istanbul, Turkey. Today we feature his story, specifically his experience as an international student. 

When he was younger, Eren was interested in acting, and has been doing it for years. He started watching more movies, admiring the creative stories and creative visions made by other people who work with actors. 

Eren graduated in 2020, and discovered Rowan thanks to his cousin who graduated from Rowan a few years earlier. His cousin knew that Eren wanted to pursue film at an affordable school, and Rowan’s film program was award-winning and growing fast, so it became the perfect fit for Eren. There is a film industry in Turkey, a pretty popular film industry actually, along with TV shows and independent films.

In Turkey, each TV episode is two and a half hours long, compared to the short 30 minute-to-1 hour episodes in the United States. All of those episodes are shot in one week and aired that same week, which is very different from the structure in the United States. There are a lot of successful hyperproduction for film in Turkey. The main reason Eren came to America in the first place is because the film industry and film education is overall the strongest in the United States. The networking opportunities and the resources were a lot more available here than in Turkey.

Eren points while mid-conversation.

Eren has had a positive experience at Rowan so far. He has been on par with every single other student, and the professors have been very understanding. Eren was honest and told them that he was not the most proficient at English, asking for assistance, especially with some of the college composition classes. The professors were very understanding and helped Eren grow as a student. There are a few foundational or a pre-English level courses that a student can take before they pursue their major, to help better their understanding of the English language. It is a helpful option for international students with English as their second language.

Rowan offers a lot of clubs for international students. Some of them are mostly focused on specific groups, such as the International Club. There are also other clubs such as The Muslim Students Association, Arabic Club, South American Latino Club, Asian Club, African Club, and Indian Club. They’re mostly geared toward people within those ethnicities, but do welcome all interested students. In the past, Eren has participated in some of these on-campus clubs and organizations. 

Eren sits at a table with his hands clasped in front of him, smiling subtly at the camera.

Eren shares a few things that international students should know about attending college:

1- “Think about if you want to live here in America or not. Even if you don’t want to live here, but still get an American degree, that’s fine. Just think about if you want to do it or not.”

2-  “Think of your finances, and if you’re able to pay for school or not. If not, the school can support you through financial aid and scholarship opportunities. I certainly got some from the school so I’m able to afford it a little bit easier.”

3- “Look at the course contents that the school is offering you, if that satisfies your academic goals. See if the classes are going to fulfill your requirements.” 

4- “This isn’t a necessity, but it is always nice to have some family, friends and relatives around.  If you have family and friends, they will be a big help to you and support you throughout your college journey.”

Eren talks with someone at a table.

Looking ahead, Eren dreams of working in the film and TV industry. A main goal of his is to be a working actor and a working director creating successful film projects. Eren enjoys working with other people in the acting industry, and he also wants to be seen as an inspiration in this field. “You come from Germany, or Colombia, or Russia, it doesn’t matter at all, you can still make projects. And if you get together with other people, you can do it. There’s actually benefits that you’re from the other side of the world, because there are things and stories that you know that other people don’t know. You can share information with each other, and that’s how you will make one creative mind together.”

For future international students who might be nervous about transitioning into a university in the United States, “Take your time. I felt very much like a fresh fish off the boat because I didn’t speak English that often. After a while you just get used to it and you can just ask your friends or your teachers for help. Rowan is very helpful when it comes to understanding international students. Another thing that students might be afraid of is making friends. All I can say is you will find someone. Last year, in my first fall semester, I was very much an introvert around others, I didn’t know who to talk to. I was only hanging out with some of my fresh friends, because those were the only people I met. Once I started involving myself in RTF, and most importantly, Cinema Workshop, then I was able to find my group of people. If you find people that have the same goal, path, desire, and love as you do, then just talk to them, because you will find your people.”

Like what you see?


Story by: Jordyn Dauter, junior dance & elementary education double major

Photos by: Joseph Conte