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3 replies
Turkey--ataturk university
Sar
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Hey guys! Has anyone here ever been to Turkey? More specifically, Erzurum, Turkey? I’m looking at possibly doing a study abroad there with language immersion as well as an internship to fill requirements for an internship before I graduate with a degree in Agriculture. I’m super excited about the possibility of getting my internship out of the way while studying abroad, but I know verrry little about Turkey, its culture and customs and this makes me very intimidated.

What is Turkey like? What are the people like? What is the weather like? Is there something there that was a total shock to you? What is the food like? (I tend to be kind of a picky eater, not TERRIBLY picky, but picky enough that I don’t want to spend an entire semester starving!

Anything and everything that you know about Turkey would be appreciated, or even an awesome forum that would help me better or a link?

Thank you in advance.

I am leaving from syracuse, ny with $4000 for 29 days
Belfast, Dublin, Cardiff, Bath, Amsterdam, Paris, Lyon, Venice, Florence, Rome
Requesting help with Transport, Hostels, Budget, Itinerary, Nightlife, Food, Sights
oldlady
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I have only been in Istanbul and Kusadsi, but I really enjoyed Turkey. There is some “culture shock” and I would look for a guide book that deals with the cultural issues. There are books designed for persons doing business in Turkey and also the “Culture Shock” series. Check used book stores and the library. 13 million people live in Istanbul. In the course of 5 days you will meet 12 million of them and 11 million of those will be trying to sell you a rug. Haggling, bargaining and pushiness on the part of sales people is the norm and it takes a little getting used to for foreigners. Most sales people will tell you that they aren’t insulted if you don’t buy their merchandise but they are insulted if you try to ignore their sales pitch.

The whole culture seems to be based on the idea that “everything is negotiable.” It will be interesting to see if that impacts the education system. Students trying to sweet talk you into “helping” them and trying to negotiate their grades wouldn’t surprise me. There’s often lots of noisy discussion although people don’t seem to ever really get mad. The traffic in Istanbul is absolutely amazing — it’s impossible to figure out how they cram that many moving cars into that little space. People drive aggressively in terms of just assuming that their car will fit into that space and other drivers will accommodate. The same situation in the US would have horns blowing, fists waving, obscene gestures and probably deadly road rage. You seldom even hear a car horn in Turkey. Drivers don’t seem to get mad.

We didn’t have much trouble finding acceptable food for picky eaters. We ate Gyros, crepes, “hamburgers” (often meatloaf sandwiches, but acceptable) and a sort of pizza and snacked on pistachios, sunflower seeds, cookies and candy bars. Kebabs are sometimes hunks of meatloaf instead of pieces of meat on a skewer, but, again they were usually pretty good. You could probably live on french fries (Pome frites) for a semester — ketchup costs extra.

Take advantage of your semester and see as much of Turkey as you can. Don’t miss the ruins at Ephesus if you have any interest in ruins….

luv_the_beach
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Sar, where are you coming from? If you’re coming from North America or Europe (or Brazil, Australia), you will experience more culture shock in Turkey than you would in any other European country, that’s a guarantee. Particularly in Erzurum (small city in conservative eastern Turkey), as opposed to Istanbul which is a cosmopolitan big city. Check out a book as oldlady suggested. Here’s one I found for you on Amazon: Culture Shock! Turkey See if you can do a search on the internet for “Expats Turkey” to see if you can find any forums about foreigners living in Turkey (not Turkish expats living abroad). Are you going to Erzurum independently? Or through a program with your university at home?

Very many people visit the country, and leave with great things to say about the country and people, so I’m sure you’ll enjoy your stay.


beach-lunch-siesta-beach-shower-dinner-nightlife-repeat

oldlady
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Another thing I forgot — I found some useful information about Turkey for tourists and folks doing business there on the US state department website. The site is cautious with it’s warnings. It’s kind of “this horrible thing has happened once in the last decade so be careful,” but it is helpful.