December 18th 2020

Istanbul, the metropolis where orient and occident meet

A semester abroad - by Elisa Hasenbichler

Due to Covid-19, it was unclear until the last moment whether my semester abroad could take place as planned or not. Fortunately, I got the acceptance letter from the partner university at the last minute and a few days later, my adventure started.

"Hoşgeldiniz" means 'warm welcome'. However, this word has a much deeper meaning than welcome. It means, to have a good feeling, feel comfortable and to feel like home. It is encountered in many different day-to-day situations. Whether you're shopping, going to a restaurant, or meeting friends for a coffee.

I have to say, I felt at home in Turkey from the very first second. I would argue that the extraordinary hospitality of the locals is responsible for this.

I was captivated by the country and the culture from the very first moment. The people are totally open, you are noticed and even if you do not speak the same language, you always find a way to communicate. Togetherness comes first, which is why people often sit for hours in a coffee shop, eating, drinking and chatting about God and the world. A traditional Çay is not to be missed.

I love to travel and explore new places. I never expected Turkey to be so incredibly diverse. The country lies on two continents and is surrounded by water. While in the south you can still swim in the sea in November, in the west you can already swing your curves on the slopes. There is an incredibly long list of places and sites here that are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

In summary, I can only recommend spending a semester abroad to everyone. I can say that it was the best decision I made during my studies. Not only did I have the opportunity to develop both professionally and personally over the last few months, but I am also flying back with a lot of wonderful memories that no one can take away from me.                                                                                                                                     

Since pictures say more than 1000 words, I have captured some moments for you.