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Visiting Scholar From Turkey Reflects on One-Year Experience at CSUF

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Muhittin Ceken is an assistant professor in the Department of History at Aydın Adnan Menderes University in Turkey. After almost a year of attending Cal State Fullerton as a visiting scholar, Ceken will be returning to his home country on October 26. In a recent interview, he reflected on his experience being in America.

What led Ceken to become a CSUF visiting scholar? After writing his doctoral thesis on the Knights Templar, he wanted to specialize more in this field and increase his academic experience. He began following various historians’ studies. One historian that had the greatest influence on him was Jochen Burgtorf, history professor, who teaches medieval history at CSUF.

Ceken recalls, “I thought that working with him would add a lot to my academic knowledge. I expressed my wish to study with him within the scope of my post-doctoral program.”

Ceken reached out to Burgtorf, and after completing the Visiting Scholar Application process through CSUF Extension & International Programs (EIP), he was able to travel to America and stay here as a visiting scholar.

Over the course of his visit, Ceken attended nearly all of Burgtorf’s history classes. He also enjoyed frequent visits to Pollak Library for project research. He claims spending a year in America made a great contribution to his academic career.

Ceken’s experience gave him a new perspective of America. “America is a country that hosts many different cultures, and I saw that American people are very hospitable.”

Now that his time at CSUF is coming to an end, what are his plans moving forward?

“As soon as I return to my home country,” he shares, “I plan to spend some time with my daughter, son and wife, whom I have not seen for a year. They have made great sacrifices for me to be here.”

Ceken will also return to his work in Turkey. “I have students waiting for me, and I will continue to teach them. I will encourage them to go abroad, particularly to America, to open their vision.”

To learn more about the Visiting Scholars/Exchange Visitors program at Cal State Fullerton, go to

Charis Hill