The Dynamic Role of an Events Coordinator: Meet Azelya Terzi

Born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey, Azelya Terzi is Events Coordinator at John Cabot University. Azelya is also a JCU alumna, having graduated in 2019 with a B.A. in Communications and a minor in Business Administration.

Azelya Terzi

Azelya Terzi

Tell us about your background.
I moved to a small town in Italy called Rossano in the Calabria region at the age of 14 for family reasons. Moving from a metropolitan city of 13 million to a little one of 36,000 was a drastic change. I attended an Italian public liceo linguistico there. On the first day of school, my Italian language skills were limited to briefly introducing myself. Fortunately, it proved to be right that the best way to learn a foreign language is to live where that language is spoken. I am thankful that this experience gave me the ability to speak a third language.

I was also fortunate to find out that people from Calabria are similar to Turkish people: they are very friendly, warm, and sincere. Even if almost none of them spoke a word of English, they did their best to welcome me into the community. It is interesting however that the best friend I made there is Ukrainian, and Italian is our common language.

What brought you to Rome and JCU?
English has always been my favorite language to speak, even more than my native language Turkish. I don’t know what it is, but I just have fun speaking it! Therefore, I wanted to continue my studies after high school in English. In Turkey, it is quite common for private universities to hold courses only in English. I was surprised to see how uncommon this was in Italy! Thankfully, the first result that came up was John Cabot University, and I was immediately intrigued by the Communications major. The courses that the department offered inspired me so much that I wanted to go visit the campus as soon as possible. I attended an Open Day where Professor Peter Sarram was presenting the major. I could absolutely imagine myself studying here and being part of the community, and in fact, I applied as soon as possible and got accepted.

Seeing that the student body was made up of international people like me was another significant factor that led me to this decision. Having been a foreigner in the community throughout my high school years, I was excited to finally be among people going through a similar experience.

How is life after graduation?
Life after graduation is so much fun! After obtaining my B.A., I knew I wanted to start building my professional career right away. I was just so curious about work life! On the other hand, I loved the JCU community so much that I did not want to leave it. As a workplace, it offered all the benefits I was looking for as an employee: a perfect location, a dynamic and diverse environment, and the opportunity to use English as the official language.  I tried my luck by applying for the Events Coordinator position towards the end of my senior year, and I was fortunate enough to be accepted as soon as I graduated.

Tell us about your experience as Events Coordinator.
My duties as Events Coordinator are overseeing all JCU events with a focus on those sponsored by the President’s Office, Guarini Institute for Public Affairs, and the Institute of Future and Innovation Studies. I also help organize the Board of Trustee meetings, Commencement Ceremony, Graduation Gala, President’s Gala, and New York Gala, as well as any other special event or project that might come up during the year. These events sometimes are held in collaboration with outside institutions, which allows me to expand my network. I organize catering and room set-up, manage attendance, promote the events, and arrange coverage for them with the help of the Marketing Office and Web Communications Office. I am also responsible for keeping the JCU event organization procedures up to date.

Thanks to the dynamic nature of events, there is never a dull moment, so I keep learning new things even if it is my fourth year working here. In the beginning, this unpredictability was the most challenging aspect of the job. I have a very organized personality, so I dread last-minute changes. However, last-minute changes are bound to happen at events, and you just have to find a way to accommodate them. This used to put me under stress, but now I have learned how to manage it with poise and efficiency, which ultimately made me a much more flexible person.

What did you like most about being a student at JCU?
In my Communications major, I focused mainly on theoretical courses. If I had to describe my experience with one word, it would be eye-opening. For example, Professor Mike Watson’s Introduction to Visual Communication showed me the work that goes into creating visual codes in media content, such as advertisements in order to convey specific messages with the purpose of shaping society according to the company’s interests. Another course I can think of is Professor Sarram’s Popular Music and Mass Culture. The course offers a deep analysis of the history of pop music from blues to heavy metal. In the course, Professor Sarram explains the influence of the music industry in shaping the genres into what we call “pop,” which I found fascinating.

What made you decide to combine Communications and Business at JCU?
I liked the idea of incorporating a different field into my academic portfolio and having an additional skillset upon graduation. At JCU, completing a minor can be easy because you can share up to a maximum of three courses between your major and your minor. For instance, Business Communication and Public Relations not only counted both as Communications and Business courses, but they also combined perfectly with the career path I was envisioning for myself. In fact, I still use the skills I learned in these classes in my professional life.

What would you say to a prospective student who might be considering studying at JCU?
JCU opens numerous doors, whether you want to stay in Italy or go abroad after graduation. In any case, you will acquire new perspectives, open your mind, and build relationships with international people during your time at JCU. You will gain skills that will not only be useful in your academic and professional career, but also for life in general. Just put yourself out there, you will not regret it.

What are your plans for the future?
I would like to keep gaining more knowledge and experience in event planning and expand my network and connections. I am happy now, and so I would like to savor the moment and enjoy the life I have created for myself.