Istanbulldogs

Internships in Turkey

Visit the UCS Internships website and eRecruiting to find out more about many internship opportunities in Turkey.  

 

Deirdre Dlugoleski's Reflections on Her Experience in Istanbul

 

November, 2012

As the cold weather sets in and exams begin to pile up, I find myself missing summer in Istanbul more by the day. Okay, let's be honest – we all do this, no matter where we were over the summer. But at the points of the semester at which the school routine starts to make me feel like a hamster on a wheel, it's not so much the sun, the delicious (and cheap) food, the nauseatingly beautiful sunset skyline, or the fluffy cats everywhere that I recall most fondly (although certainly there were enough of all of these.) Rather, I look back on the sense of immersing myself in a different rhythm of life, and having the freedom to not have a normal routine, to explore. I had narrowly chosen Turkey over another Arabic program for the summer; I had decided that I needed to try something radically different than what I normally did. This attitude largely dictated how I used my time in Istanbul. I was there working at an NGO – but an equally valuable, though perhaps less quantifiable, part of the summer was the time I spent outside of work. I explored all over the city, both the historic sites like the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque, and more obscure neighborhoods like Tarlabaşı, whose population consists largely of refugees, the internally displaced, and immigrants. Instead of grocery stores, I started getting my vegetables at weekly neighborhood markets (Tarlabaşı itself has a huge one on Sundays) or taking the ferry across the Bosphorus to the Asian side of the city – and, after the freshest and most perfect fruit, and ubiquitous crusty bread hot out of the oven, returning to American grocery stores was a little painful. I met a chef through a friend at work and asked if she would show me how to make a few Turkish dishes. I ended up with a four-hour lesson in her home; she cooked and explained what she was doing, and I frantically scribbled notes – and was rewarded for it with a late but delicious meal on her ivy-covered terrace that overlooked the street below. I became a pro at navigating the bus system and the metro (albeit sometimes by getting extremely lost first). On one occasion, after reading up on some of Mimar Sinan's architecture, I took a bus out to Edirnekapı to find the Mihrimah Sultan mosque, which I had heard described as like “stepping into a box of light.” Set back from the road and partially under construction, it looked closed down for the foreseeable future. But a glance through the doors on the other end of the courtyard revealed that it was very much still functional, and open to visitors. The walls were almost entirely composed of stained glass windows, letting a delicate light play off of the domes and arches and the chandelier inside. I sat there silently for literally an hour as workers from the shops and construction sites outside would drift in and out to pray. A friend at work and I decided to try to find a beach we had heard of, and took first the metro, then the bus, then a crammed dolmuş (shared taxi) on a pine-tree lined road that ran through the hills and along the Bosphorus out to Riva. I did have real work to do, of course (like studying for the looming GRE), but taking the review book with me to my favorite cafe and studying over a few cups of apple tea made it palatable. I made a point of visiting as many different parts of the city as I could – and I still didn't see it all. Istanbul, with a population estimate of 15 million (roughly five times the size of Los Angeles), is beyond anything we have in the United States. But I hope to go back, many times. 

 

Deirdre Dlugoleski

Ezra Stiles College 

Yale University 2013