Coming To America: Dogan Bagde’s Story

Dogan Bagde

Dogan Bagde

Hannah Hulett, Features Editor

From Australia to Turkey, Turkey to Germany, and then from Germany back to Australia, with family expeditions through Europe in between, it is safe to say that 19-year-old Dogan Bagde is no stranger to traveling.

Beginning his travels when he was a mere 18 months old, his family moved from Australia to Turkey in an effort to be closer to his Turkish-native father’s side of the family. Bagde and his father, Kamil, his mother, Monica, and his older sister, Deniz, travelled throughout Europe until his father’s job as a software engineer took him and his family to Germany, where they resided for the next five years.

“Within those eight years for holidays we visited and drove through most of Europe, so I spent my whole childhood traveling Europe,” Bagde said.

Though Bagde stated he had never been to the United States before, he claims that he was not too nervous about traveling so far from home alone, but the decision was still not made easily.

“It was difficult [to decide to leave home], but I knew the paths I needed to take to work out my career and my future,” Bagde said.

However, after a long, 15-hour, nonstop flight from Sydney to Los Angeles, here he was. Bagde was first impressed by the sheer size of the airport, and noted that his awe did not waiver until he reached Kansas, when he was again shocked by the drastic difference between California and Kansas.

“I was surprised to see how little and country-like Kansas is,” Bagde said.

Upon arrival in Kansas, Bagde had to not only adjust and take in his new physical environment, but also the laws and regulations of the land that differed from his norm.

Bagde discussed some of the differences between Australia and the United States, pointing out, for instance, the legal drinking age is 21 years old in the United States, while in Australia it is only 18.

Another difference in laws concerns the driving regulations between the two. Bagde described driving regulations here in the United States as “more flexible.”

“In Australia, they are quite strict on road rules. Most of them [could] get you a fine and loss of license for a minimum of three months [if broken].”

Bagde also noted stylistic differences, expressing that his impression is that the United States takes on a more “sporty” and comfort-minded persona, while in Australia, button-up shirts and slacks are the norm.

Not everything is different from the Land Down Under, though. For example, Bagde thinks back to high school and remembers long, 8-to-3 school days that extended through the five-day week, just like here, though he did point out that unlike here, if one misses a big test in Australia, there is not usually an opportunity given to take it at all.

There is also not much of a difference in musical tastes.

“We listen to the same music as you do here, besides the few people who are famous in Australia and not popular internationally,” Bagde explained.

As for fun in Australia, Bagde, like any other teen, enjoys spending time with friends.

“My best friend and I ride our bikes and go to these areas where it’s covered with trees to just explore the bush lands,” Bagde said.

However, Bagde has yet to really be introduced to fun opportunities in the United States, aside from school functions, but he is hopeful for the off-season.

“In the U.S., the most fun I’ve had is on the soccer field at training and the games,” Bagde explained. “I hope to go explore more of Kansas when I get more free time.”