Eren Barokas is a sophomore student here at Rowan University majoring in Radio, Television, and Film. Eren is from Istanbul, Turkey, and first heard about Rowan University through his cousin who graduated from Rowan a few years ago. After discovering that at Rowan he could pursue his dream of furthering his education in film and acting, along with Rowan’s affordability, Eren was sure Rowan was the place for him.
When asked why he chose to venture outside of Turkey and overseas to pursue a career in the film industry in the United States, Eren shared, “So the film industry in Turkey, it’s actually a pretty popular film industry, especially in South America, especially around the Middle East, the TV shows are very popular, some of the more independent films are very popular. But the reason why I came to America in the first place is that the film industry and film education are overall the strongest in the United States. Plus the networking opportunities, the resources were a lot more available here than they are in Turkey.”
Continuing on Eren was asked about his feelings about Rowan’s International Program and if the program has added him during his journey integrating to life in the US, to which he expressed, “My experience has been pretty decent. So far, I’ve been on par with every single other student that I share classes with. The professors also overall have been very understanding, especially during the first semesters, first couple classes.”
He went on to add, “I told them, hey, I’m not the most proficient at English. So maybe you could help me out a little bit or not go too hard on me, especially with some of the college composition courses. And they were very understanding. I can say I didn’t go through this by myself.”
On Rowan’s campus, there is such a vast group of different students that comes from all different backgrounds and walks of life, that being said Eren is one of many international students who have made the major decision to choose Rowan as the place to continue their academic career. When asked if he has any friends that are also international students and if the group of international students at Rowan is larger than some might assume, Eren shared that he does in fact have friends at Rowan who also identify as international students but he also has many friends at the University who are American citizens.
Piggybacking off of this Eren talked about the array of clubs offered here at Rowan University, making a note to spotlight the International Club which he says is one of the leading outlets set in stone for international students to share their experiences, socialize, and find support within their community here. He also touched on some of the culture-focused clubs for specific minority groups like the United Latinos Association, The African American Student Association and Black Student Union, Muslim Student Association, Arabic Culture Club, South Asian Student Club, Indian Student Association, and the list goes on. Although Eren is not a concrete member of the international student club he did attend events in the past and says the club was very welcoming to him.
Shifting back to academics Eren was asked to describe the Radio, Television, and Film program in his own words, to which he said, “Radio television film as the name itself says, is a major that focuses on radio production, television production, and film production. Basically, it’s a department that is divided into two specific areas, there is the production side of the field where you take a camera, and you either go out to news, some interviews like these ones, or some small short film productions, or like late night TV, TV show shoots. Or you can focus on the more film studies TV studies aspect of the department where you go more analytical and you study the history of it, or how to construct the film, piece by piece, both historically and aesthetically and screenwriting wise.”
Eren went on to describe the misconceptions about RTF sharing, “One misconception I definitely think there is – a lot of people say that a radio or film degree is useless or most film students are lazy. I definitely think that’s very much not true. Because that depends on who the person is, the person who’s pursuing the degree. The benefit of the film degree is that you get to meet a lot of people, and you do a lot of networking, which is very important in the film industry. And you do a lot of projects, which you then create a lot of projects under your belt. And that’s what’s most useful for a student who has a film degree. And that’s why I think it’s not as useless as most people make it out to be.”
Eren revealed that he chose to go RTF because he used to be a theater kid and had been acting for many years prior to his arrival at Rowan. As he grew his love for the theater morphed into an appreciation for film and the creative writing and creative visions that goes into bringing these stories to life, whether it’s on a stage or the big or small screen.
With such a great appreciation for the arts Eren’s goals in the future are to become a working actor, working director, as well as an actor who’s in TV shows and movies, but also to become a director who’s working with other people. Pretty much guiding the actors and the scriptwriters to make the best project possible.
Lastly, Eren was asked what impact he hopes to make on the world. He pondered for a moment and then responded, “The impact I want to make known to people is that it doesn’t matter where you come from. If you come from Germany, Colombia, or Russia, it doesn’t matter at all, you can still make projects. If you get together with other people, if you work with them, you can do it. Plus, there’s actually a benefit 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. And you can share information with each other. That’s how you will make one creative mind mesh with another,” With so much ambition and a well-versed look at life Eren as only a sophomore has so much to look forward to and so much success waiting for him ahead.
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Story by: Asiya Robinson, junior writing arts major