By Ugur Cil
ANKARA (AA) - "I am indebted to Turkey for the scholarship given to me," says the director general of the Mongolian National Broadcaster, who came to Turkey 12 years ago to get a teaching degree.
Gandiimaa Rentsendorj is just one of thousands of people who got a scholarship to study in Turkey.
According to the Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities (YTB), over 100,000 foreign students applied for a scholarship this year, and there are currently 16,817 foreigners studying at Turkish universities.
Hundreds of foreign students who studied on scholarships in Turkey will meet in Istanbul this Saturday for a giant alumni reunion organized by the YTB.
Rentsendorj came to Turkey in 1995 and studied at the Chemistry Education Department at Ankara-based Gazi University. He then went to China and got his Master's degree in journalism from the Peking University in Beijing.
"This scholarship [granted by Turkey] met all of my expenses including tuition and dormitory fees," Rentsendorj told Anadolu Agency.
"Now, I speak very good Turkish and have become a kind of cultural envoy between Turkey and Mongolia," he said, adding that studying in Turkey and speaking Turkish had changed his life and enabled him to play an important role between the two countries.
"I organized a project which sent 11 people from Mongolia National Broadcaster to train in Turkey, with the support of the Turkish Embassy in Ulaanbaatar and Turkey’s state-run aid body, Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA).
"If I did not speak Turkish, and had not studied in Turkey, this cooperation between the two countries would not have happened," he said.
Rentsendorj hopes that the number of Mongolian students studying in Turkey will rise, encouraging his fellow countrymen and women to at least go for a visit even if they cannot study there.
Tunisian businessman Nabil Rouis is another alumni who picked Turkey to study.
Rouis studied mechanical engineering at the Uludag University in the northwestern province of Bursa, and graduated in 2000. He has been living in Turkey since 1994.
"I preferred to study in Turkey as its culture is close to ours. That, and the fact that it is a rising country," he said.
Rouis, who gained Turkish citizenship, runs a foreign trade business.
"On every occasion, we try to promote Turkey in Tunisia, and vice versa. We encourage businessmen from both countries to do business with each other," he said.
The Tunisian businessman -- whose two nephews are studying in Turkey -- said he advised other young Tunisians to come and study in Turkey.
"I am very happy to be here, in Turkey. It is not just a matter of living here. It is also important to be a citizen of a powerful country. That is how I see Turkey."