Without a doubt, spending a semester abroad is an adventurous experience for all students. For me, Turkey, has been full of surprises and parties, but also shocks.
The day before university started, two friends and I flew to 18 million inhabitants-city Istanbul. After a quite expensive taxi ride, because the driver fooled us concerning the price of the ride, we finally arrived at our flat. The first surprise was that the apartment was on ground floor, and not on the first as we thought it would be. Since there is quite a high criminality rate in Istanbul and we are living with only two girls, we were not too comfortable with it.
After strolling through our new hood it didn’t disturb us that much anymore though, because Cihangir is a super lively and hip area in the European part of Istanbul. The streets are clean and most of the houses have doormen and alarms, people are dressed very fashionably, there are tons of cool bars and restaurants, which mostly have a western flair. We were overwhelmed by the impressions of people and our surroundings, which are somewhat comparable to Berlin, just about eight times the size and maybe even more hipster.
On our way home the second surprise caught us ,when we took one wrong turn and were suddenly surrounded by shady looking guys who were whispering a mixture of English and Turkish words. When they tried to grab into my friend’s pocket, we realised we had to get out of there. As fast as we could we ran out of the shady alley and arrived safely back at our apartment only some minutes later. We collapsed on the bed, laughing. We had made this typical tourist mistake of not knowing where you better do not go. With this lesson our first evening in Istanbul ended.