Hey, my name is Will (in the purple shirt; in front of the Yeni Cami in Eminönü) and I’m an exchange student through Rutgers, though I actually study at Carleton, a small liberal arts school in Minnesota. Living in İstanbul these last three months has been an incredible experience. Sedef has asked me to give a little bit more of the exchange student perspective.
Istanbul is massive. It would take a lifetime to explore the whole city, let alone the rest of Turkey or Europe. I’ve managed to go as far afield as Budapest, Vienna, and Prague, and been able to travel cheaply to Athens and Bulgaria, as well as going to other places in Turkey like Edirne (see below left; the Selimiye Cami), Izmir, and Cappadocia (see below right).
Studying at Koç is interesting It’s easier than my university in the States, but I’m reminded every day how lucky I am to be fluent in English. Going to classes that are still quite difficult and are also taught in a different language would be almost impossible. Another thing about Koç is the commute. If you miss the city bus, or want to go on a weekend, the fastest way to get downtown involves two dolmuş, the Metro, a funicular, and the tram.
Whether it’s wandering around the Theodosian Land walls that date back to the early 5th Century (below left), or enjoying Turkish çay overlooking the Bosphorus (below right), there’s plenty to do and see in Istanbul. Getting out of campus and going into town or even just Sarıyer is always fun, and (with traffic) always an adventure.