Horns meet World. World meet Mia Collins. Mia is an International Relations major and a Geography major at UT that studied abroad at Bogazici University in Instanbul, Turkey. Here are some of her highlights from her experience.
I decided to go to Turkey largely out of curiosity, and a desire to go somewhere where I knew I would be out of place. I did not experience culture shock on arrival in Istanbul- I took it easy on myself, didn’t have expectations for the new city, and didn’t try to accomplish everything in time. I honestly think the key was just taking everything as it was and watching how things worked for the first week or so before I even tried to integrate myself. The hardest adjustment was dealing with the general bureaucracy of Turkey, which is slow to say the least. Another tricky adjustment was learning to communicate out of absolutely zero knowledge of Turkish- charades were my friend, and I quickly learned that Turks are incredibly kind and helpful. If they could figure out what I was trying to say through my insane gestures and interpretive dances, they would slowly say the words I needed in Turkish, and usually make me repeat them.
I had two favorite courses at Bogazici. The first was History of the Turkish Republic, which I took solely to learn more about the history of the country. My professor was a fantastic lecturer, and was able to convey the passion Turks feel for their republic. It was helpful to learn about Turkey while living in Turkey, whenever we talked about a meeting or council in Istanbul, I could literally just hop on the bus after class and go see monuments in person!
Within Turkey, my favorite place by far was Kapadokya- we spent a week there, hiking through the valleys and forging our own paths. The coolest part was that there were wild fruit trees growing the valleys, so not matter where we hiked, there were always apples, quince, grapes, and pomegranates to snack on.
I also fell in love with Cig Köfte. Çig Köfte literally translates as raw meat, which is weird because I’m vegetarian. However, it should be noted that traditionally this dish is made with raw meat, but since it has evolved into a street food (i.e. an awful place for raw meat), it is instead made with walnuts and lentils mixed with spices, put in a wrap with some lettuce, aci biber (spicy sauce), tomatoes, parsley and lemon and voila! It’s a vegetarian’s dream meal. I honestly ate more of these than I should admit. The çig köfte man would already start making my wrap as I walked in the door, and I can guarantee you the next time I go to Turkey, this will be my first stop.
If you liked hearing about Mia’s experience abroad check out the program that got her there! For more stories check in with us next week to see where our Horns pop up next.