At rejse er at leve;
   To travel is to live

The Adventure Begins…


The city I’ll soon call home

As I sit here packing (Okay, let’s be honest…as I sit here thinking “wow, I probably should start packing now”) I can’t help think about how crazy this is and how crazy I must be. If you would have told me 3 years ago that I would be going on not only one exchange to Denmark, but a second exchange to Turkey, I would have thought you were crazy.

Yes, you heard me right – I’ve been lucky enough to be a Rotary Youth Exchange student a second time and go on a year-long exchange to Istanbul, Turkey. In the Rotary world, I’m the rarity they call a “yo-yo” because I went out on exchange to Denmark, came back to the US, and am going out on exchange again. If you can’t picture that, just think of a rapper saying “yo” a few times and that’ll make me sound cooler.

After lots of waiting, more waiting, and a lack of patience on my part (sorry, parents!) I have finally received my flight information. I’ll be leaving out of Minneapolis on Sunday, August 30th.


Skyping my host family for the first time

I’ll be living in Göktürk, a suburb of Istanbul – I’ve heard it isn’t too far away from the center of the city by bus. Istanbul has a population of 15 million people…this is slightly bigger than my Danish city of Ryslinge, which has under 1,500 people. I’ll be living with one host family for the whole year. I’ve talked with them on Skype and Whatsapp and they seem fantastic! I’ll be living with two host parents and a host brother who is the same age as me. I also have a host sister who will be in Taiwan while I’m at her house. I’m very excited to live with them and experience culture through their lifestyle. I’ll be attending a bilingual school taught in half English and half Turkish that’s actually based off American curriculum…luckily my classmates will speak English, so I’ll be able to get by before I’m fluent in the language.

For those of you who don’t know much about Turkey, here’s a bit of information:

  • Turkey is partly in Europe and partly in Asia (Istanbul straddles the Bosporus Strait)
  • 82 Million people live in Turkey
  • They speak Turkish, which used to be written in Arabic script 100 years ago but is now written in Latin alphabet
  • 99.8% of the country’s population is Muslim
  • Istanbul is Turkey’s largest city, with 15 million people
  • The capital of Turkey is Ankara, not Istanbul
  • Turkey borders Bulgaria, Greece, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Armenia, and Georgia
  • Turkish food is supposedly amazing (I.E. kebab, baklava, döner, etc.)


map turkey

Map showing Istanbul/Turkey’s location. Click to Enlarge

I can’t even begin to explain how excited I am to arrive – I’m so ready to live in the country I’ve only dreamed of visiting. I can’t decide what I’m most excited for: meeting my host family, seeing the architecture, or eating the food It almost doesn’t seem real…I leave the country in 5 days and it still feels no different than planning to go to a movie or to the grocery store. I’m sure it’ll hit me eventually, in the form of sending lots of panicked Snapchats. Until then, I suppose it’s time to start packing!

Güle Güle!


5 Responses to The Adventure Begins…

  • Hi have a wonderful time. I was a Nanny to Betul in 1997 and often looked after Berkin as a baby sometimes but more Betul from 16 months old . I spoke English all the time to her. My Turkish is fair it is easy to learn when you live in Turkey. You will love your time Istanbul and they are best family I was ever a Nanny. to.

    • Dee,
      You wrote great
      I feel very happy and also we love you, thats why we keep in touch and meet you in UK or Turkey when you come.
      Cameron will spend time with Berkin all year long and he is excited to have Cameron.
      Hope Betül arrive back to İstanbul before Cameron leave so they can meet..

  • CAMERRROOOON. You write wonderfully, so funny.. please actually keep a blog up. I never could in DK. BE A BETTER PERSON THAN ME. I BELEIV EIN YOU. lots of <3 <3 <3 PS. Turkey is amazing. you'll love it. I loved it . i'm jealous that's all

  • Have a great year in Turkey! How exciting! May it be as wonderful as your trip to Denmark! I look forward to reading your posts. Love, Elaine and Jerry

  • Merhaba is another greeting. You are going to love it. I have contacts there if you have any problems. Enjoy!

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globe senior pic squareMerhaba, I'm Cameron Neader.

I'm an 18 year old going on Rotary Youth Exchange to Turkey and I was an exchange student in Denmark in 2013-14.

Click here to read more.