• Many Syrian citizens have sought refuge across the border in Turkey, most of whom do not speak Turkish. The Turkish Program helps navigate linguistic, cultural and circumstancial barriers in a new country through virtual lessons.

  • How It Works



    Once selected, students and tutors are matched based on their language abilities, age, gender, and interests.



    Tutors go through an intensive virtual two-week training on the Syrian crisis, working with impacted persons, as well as language pedagogies.



    Matched pairs meet on Skype for two-hour weekly sessions for 16 weeks, using a custom curriculum.



    Tutors and staff assist students in preparing a CV and a personal statement, and also assist them in accessing professional development webinars.

  • A Language in Need

    Language for Survival

    Turkey is currently hosting nearly 3 million Syrian refugees, the vast majority of whom did not speak Turkish before crossing the border. More work is needed to ensure Syrians have access to basic goods, services, education and employment in Turkey. Being fluent in the local language helps refugees navigate the Turkish legal system, engage with businesses, participate in local communities and complete educational goals. Helping Syrians integrate into Turkish communities is critical not just to the stability of Turkey, but for the dignity and future stability of Syrians now living there, and having conversational Turkish skills greatly contributes to this effort.

    Personalized Instruction

    We match Syrian students with vetted Turkish tutors, who meet once a week over Skype to practice the Turkish language. Paper Airplanes’ approach is through instruction tailored to each student. Although the Turkish government also provides free Turkish lessons, many centers are overcrowded or inaccessible for those not living in major cities. Further, rising anti-refugee sentiment is becoming a major problem in Turkey (see here and here), one that will fester unless people interact with one another to clear misconceptions. We view Turkish language training as one of many ways to help communities build trust and understanding.

  • FAQ

    Is there a set curriculum?

    Yes, our Turkish program has a set and well-defined curriculum.

    How often do peer mentors and students meet?

    Peer mentors and students meet for at least 1.5 hours a week.

  • What Our Turkish Students Say

    "All the new words and grammar that I learned help me in the future because I live in Turkey, and language prevents me from pursuing my education and work. Thanks to this program, I can improve my language. "

    What Our Turkish Students Say

    "I highly recommend all students - especially those who have not joined PA yet - to apply to the program to benefit from the knowledge there and to gain scientific, cultural, and linguistic skills. "

    What Our Turkish Students Say

    "What I liked most is the flexibility in sessions’ times with my tutor, in addition to the care and follow-up by the tutor and mentors."


    What Our Turkish Students Say

    "I learned about giving. I will give others the same as I was given."


    What Our Turkish Students Say

    "I recommend it to everyone who wants to improve their language, because we can connect with Turkish people. By that we can break the fear barrier of using the language and learn more from them."


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