Hey guys! So I’m here with my first post of the year and I’m just a couple days away from leaving the U.S. for nine whole months. For anyone who is wondering, no I’m not coming home for Christmas break or any other holiday for that matter. I will be abroad the entire time so you can imagine my apprehension. It’s hard to describe how I feel because it changes everyday. Sometimes I’m dying to leave and start my journey and other days I can’t believe what I’ve gotten myself into. Overall though I think my mood could be described as anxious. I want to leave already but my program is of such an independent and self-reliant nature that I know I’ll have a stressful month ahead of me.
About a week ago my parents and some of my closest friends threw an amazing going away/21st birthday party for me at my house. Friends and family came to celebrate my last days in the U.S. and generously sent me off with warm hugs and Turkish Lira. I couldn’t have asked for a better gift however, it makes it that much harder to leave. I’m sad that I won’t be in Madison for my junior year but I’m confident that I will easily slip back into the UW routine once I am a senior. Though it’s hard to imagine almost a year without my friends and family this is an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up.
My plane leaves this Monday from Chicago at 9 a.m., which means I’ll most likely get there at 6 a.m. because my mother is the most disaster prepared person you will ever meet. However, this is not a bad thing because I’ve missed an international flight before and it was THE MOST stressful event of my life. All in all I’m glad she’s looking out for me, thanks mom if you’re reading this.
I have a short layover in Toronto then an 11-hour flight right into Istanbul. I’ll then catch a cab to my dorm and from then on I have no idea what will happen, hopefully only good things.
I’m most excited to experience a city, culture, and people unlike anything I’ve known before. Istanbul is celebrated for being a financial and cultural hub, where east and west meet to form a unique and interesting experience for all who are lucky enough to visit or live in.
Istanbul, once known as Constantinople, is a transcontinental city that straddles a waterway known as the Bosphorus. It has ranked among one of the worlds largest cities for quite some time and continues to be a focus of cultural, religious, and social diversity. The European versus Middle East dichotomy that surrounds Turkey is notorious around the world and continues to be contested by those whose culture or ancestry predicts either east or west allegiance. Istanbul’s history and diverse cultural background provides a unique set of experiences for all who inhabit it. I’m excited to explore this place I’ll call home for almost a year and come back with experiences that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
That’s all I have for now but I’ll be updating my blog regularly with news of my study abroad journey. Thanks for reading and good luck with whatever it is you’re doing.