We are having lunch in a park next to the Spree in Berlin and talking in English. She throws in the few Swedish words she remembers, appealing to my Scandinavian roots. Someone she knows stops by us and she switches to German briefly, before answering her phone in Turkish. Spending time with Gizem is like taking an ultra quick trip through Europe. She also speaks Spanish, Italian, and basic Greek. Next she wants to learn Portuguese, Russian and Persian.
“With every new language I learn, the more I understand what an integral part of culture it is. Given that culture is transmitted through language, learning a new language is a gateway to understanding a culture. It broadens your perspectives as it helps you understand yourself in a new way.”
Gizem grew up in Istanbul, a city full of contrasts and at the same time a melting pot that unites different cultures, languages, eras, and nationalities. Just like Berlin, it is a place for strong impressions and for inspiration.
“Traveling, learning languages and meeting people from all over the world develops you as a person. And I never want to stop growing in this way. I think what essentially got me to move to Berlin was that it offered the different impressions that compels me to travel, but all in one place.”
At ad2games and HitFox, Gizem now meets the whole world in her workplace. ad2games alone has 75 employees of 25 different nationalities. The impressions she has gathered from traveling and interacting with cultures other than her own, are extremely valuable when working with people in such an international environment.
“Spanish folks are never surprised to hear me speak their language in an interview, as it is quite common as a second language. But the time that I, being Turkish and all, said ‘Agapw stin Ellada’ – ‘I love Greece’ – I completely stunned the Greek candidate that I was interviewing.”
How can someone boost their ability to learn new languages?
“Doing sports has really helped me. It nourishes my mind, body and soul. It assures me that I can reach whatever target I set in life. The increased energy and motivation I get out of it helps me perform better in general. Also, after learning the second foreign language, learning another becomes even easier because you form a sort of logic that helps speed up the learning process. This is why I know that I can easily pick up 2-3 more languages if I would want to.”
ad2games is currently looking for a Head of HR. This and other open positions can be found at: http://ad2games.com/jobs
(Interview by Therese Sivertsson)