My sweet brother Scott in formed me that some people do get to take geography courses in school. While I did have to learn the locations of most of the world's countries in various classes (history, foreign language, etc...), I never had a separate geography course in the United States (though I did when I did a year of high school in France). Here's the revised question two!
2) Rachel’s mother didn’t know where in the world Turkey was when the letter Rachel received mentioned it. Did you know where Turkey was before you started reading this book? While most Americans have to learn the geography of the United States in school, world Geography is not consistently taught. Is it an important school subject in your country?