First Week in Turkey
(I apologize that I’ve been late to upload this entry – I’ll make a post about my first month in Turkey soon)
I’ve been in Turkey for a week and a half now and I’m constantly amazed by how incredible everything here is. The people are super friendly, the food is out of this world, and Istanbul is more amazing than I could have ever imagined. I’m extremely lucky to have my host brother Berkin who shows me around the city, and to have Kadir and Elif as my new Turkish friends. My host family, host city, host school, and host friends are all amazing, and I literally couldn’t have been luckier.
Even though I’ve been here only a week and a half, I’ve packed every day with sightseeing, meeting people, eating, and drinking tea. Here’s a few things that I’ve done since the last blog update:
- Climbed the aqueduct outside of my suburb with some friends
- Stayed in a 5 star hotel along the Mediterranean Sea
- Visited the Grand Bazaar, Sultan Ahmet Mosque, and Galata Tower
- Went on a boat tour of the Bosphorous Sea
- Went to the largest mall in all of Europe
- Tried AND LIKED Ayran
The first Rotary conference of the year was held at a 5 star hotel along the Mediterranean Sea in Antalya. This was our first time meeting all of the exchange students, so it was super fun to see all the people I’ve been talking with on Facebok and Whatsapp for the last few months! What really surprised me is how much the countries mingled – in Denmark we generally separated by english speaking, portuguese speaking, and spanish speaking. This year, there’s about 50 of us and we all hang out together, which I find extremely cool. There were so many people that I loved meeting – my American white girl twin Keeleigh, my tumblr-without-the-tumblr friend Amihan, my awesome Rotex Sim, a New Zealand oldie Ryan, my Brazilian oldie Maria, and so many more! One of the exchange students was actually the sister of my friend from my first exchange…crazy, right? I also got to see the District Chairman of my district in Denmark, Alex Vestergaard, who had attended the meeting. At the conference, we spent the majority of the time at the pool and swimming at the beach – the weather was perfect! We also got free food and ice cream wherever we went since the hotel price was all-inclusive…I definitely had more than my fair share at the buffets! I can already tell that I’m going to have amazing times with these people, and I’m excited to spend time with the other 15ish exchange students living in Istanbul.
I’ve gotten to see a lot of the main attractions in Istanbul – the Grand Bazaar, Galata Tower, and the Sultan Ahmed Mosque to name a few. All of these are incredibly beautiful and seeing them reminds me how lucky I am to be in the historically and culturally rich city. The mosques make the city skyline absolutely stunning, especially at sunset.
I haven’t started school yet, but I’ve visited many times and hopefully I’ll get my schedule soon. If the scheduling is ideal, I’ll be in the 12th grade in the class with some of my Turkish friends on the track of Turkish Math. (I also said I’d prefer to not have gym class, but I know that’s a longshot). Normally, I’d start school on Monday, but I’ll have a week of language courses with Rotary so I will be missing my first week. The school has a strong music and art department, so I think this school is a perfect match for me!
I think that basically sums up the time I’ve been here so far. I’m thouroughly looking forward to everything headed my way in the next year – if the rest of my hear goes as amazingly as this first week has, I’ll be the luckiest exchange student ever.
-Cameron, alternatively spelled Camayran.