Campus love story
The acquaintance of Alperen-Meltem Özen, a couple from Izmir, which started in high school, turned into love at university, marriage after graduation, and finally a business partnership. The couple, who graduated from Izmir University of Economics (IUE) as high honor students, also shared the same career goals, and opened a rehabilitation center in Urla and became hope for children with autism. While Meltem Özen (32), a graduate of the Department of Psychology, provides therapy for children with autism and their families at the private center that bears her name, Alperen Özen (33), who studied English Translation and Interpretation, communicates with families who apply to the center from abroad and does translations.
The love story of the Özen couple, who lives in Urla, Izmir, that knocks spots off the movies, started at the age of 17. The couple first met while they were studying together at Urla High School. The friendship of the couple, who spent time together at school and in their spare time, despite being in different grades, did not break although Alperen Özen went to Ankara to study at the Department of Far Eastern Languages at Ankara University.
PAUSED HIS EDUCATION, TOOK THE EXAM AGAIN
Alperen Özen, who was continuing his education in Ankara, decided to return to Izmir after Meltem Civelek (her maiden name) enrolled in the Department of Psychology at Izmir University of Economics. Alperen Özen paused his education in Ankara when he was in his second year and took the university entrance exam again. Thanks to his untiring perseverance, Özen was able to get into the Department of IUE English Translation and Interpretation. The friendship of the couple, who studied at the same faculty at IUE and took common courses, turned into love during university years. The couple, who successfully graduated from IUE in 2012, officialized their love and got married. Özen couple also had a baby named "Karan".
GLAD THAT I LISTENED TO MY HEART
The Özen couple, who also share business together, established Meltem Özen Special Education and Rehabilitation Center for children with autism and their families in Urla. Stating that his marriage to his wife was the best decision he has made in his life, Alperen Özen said, “I never doubted when I decided to go after my love by leaving the university in Ankara. For some it was courage, for some it was craziness. But I'm glad I listened to my heart. Maybe I made the best decision of my life without even realizing it at the time.”
THERE IS INTEREST FROM ABROAD
Giving information about their business, Özen said, “There is interest in our center not only from Izmir but also from abroad. The center received applications from about 10 different countries such as Germany, Austria, Belgium, and the Netherlands. While my spouse is serving on the rehabilitation side of the center, I communicate with families and meet the demands from abroad. I also communicate with people abroad and do translations. Many families are currently receiving services from our center. It is very valuable for us to do something for children, spend time with them and contribute to their quality of life.”
I COULDN'T HAVE IMAGINED
Stating that love overcomes all difficulties, Meltem Özen said, “Alperen is one year older than me, he was in an upper class in high school. I knew him but I could not imagine that I would marry him someday. Everything went very well at the university, our love strengthened us. A good relationship also affects education positively. We had the best times of our lives at Izmir University of Economics. Whenever we come to the campus in Balçova, if we pass by the university, we start reminiscing fondly of those days. The education we received there also opened many doors for us. My husband and I made a difference in business life with the education and skills we acquired at our university.”
PROPER PLANNING IS VERY IMPORTANT
Meltem Özen, who is also pursuing a master's degree in neuroscience, said, “We provide services for pre-adolescent children with autism and their families in our center. It is very important to educate children with autism at an early age and to plan their development process correctly. Our face-to-face therapies continue with children and families by taking all precautions due to the pandemic. We tell families how to communicate with their children and how their daily life should be.”