2 Months in Istanbul
I can’t even believe that I’ve been here for 2 months now. I think it’s time to answer the question everyone has: How’s life in Turkey?
It’s freaking incredible, that’s what it is.
I can’t even put into words how incredible the city of Istanbul is…I can honestly say that it is the most amazing city I’ve ever been to in my life (which is saying a lot considering the cities I’ve been to in the past few years!) Being able to meet up with friends at 5 story malls, bazaars or stunning mosques is unbelievable. Nothing is cooler than texting your friend asking which continent we should hang out in today.
I still can’t believe how lucky I’ve been. I have an amazing host family, am making great school friends, and I’ve become extremely close with the other 18 exchange students. I know that every day I’m making incredible memories and making lifelong friendships.
My Turkish language is coming along well for being here 2 months. I can now get around the city and take a taxi while using Turkish. In fact, a taxi driver thought I had been in Turkey for a year because of my Turkish. Is Turkish harder than Danish? Definitely, but I’m working hard to study it. Being on a second exchange has made me more motivated and more capable of learning Turkish, and I can easily say that I’m better at Turkish in 2 months than I was at Danish. I have language school twice every week, so I’m definitely improving. As of recently, I’m actually starting to understand what people around me are saying (so by the end of November I wouldn’t recommend talking about me in Turkish in front of me!)
School has made a 360 for me and it has been going great! I’m getting the chance to talk to more and more people in my school, and I really appreciate when they invite me out to lunch or hang out. I got to give a presentation in front of my class fully in Turkish, which was very out of my comfort zone but was great to do! I have just been cast as the lead male role in our school musical – I’ll be playing the Captain (father) in The Sound of Music!! I’ve been attending drama club and I’m enjoying getting back into acting, which is something I haven’t done much of since middle/elementary school.
It is definitely an interesting time to be living in Turkey to say the least. The bombing in Ankara was an absolute tragedy and it definitely shook up a lot of things having to do with my exchange. Much of Istanbul was worried about the possibility of a bombing in Istanbul, so to be cautious I was advised to stay away from crowded areas in the center of Istanbul. Rotary postponed our events and our language classes until after elections. In fact, Turkey even postponed Daylight Savings until after elections which actually makes no sense at all.
In the past few weeks I’ve been staying at home more, but now that the elections are over it definitely feels safe to go into the city. Rotary has kept me busy with the events Rotary planned for us, such as our bowling night, Istanbul historical tour, Halloween Party, etc. Last week I went to a walk/parade around my city of Göktürk for Turkey’s Republic Day. Walking with hundreds of people with Turkish flags really made me feel pride for my host country. As much as the US and Denmark, Turkey is becoming my home too.
-Cameron, alternatively spelled Camayran
P.S. I’d love to hear about what questions you guys have for me and would love to do a Q and A post. You can ask me questions anonymously about Turkey and my exchange on ask.fm/camayran