A Day in the Life of a Study Abroad Student in Istanbul

Donohue - 2-1

5:43am: Get woken up by the Ezan – the Islamic call to worship that goes off five times a day. You can hardly be angry getting woken up by something so beautiful.

7:30am: Wake up naturally (yes, I do naturally wake up this early) put on some decent clothes (this is a Muslim country, so that means no short shorts or revealing tops) and wander down your street to the simit vendor. Simit is almost like a pretzel, and the Turks enjoy it with cucumbers, feta, tomatoes, and other condiments for their breakfast (Obviously they’re best being sold hot for 50 cents straight from a street vendor).

8:30am: Continue digesting the simit. Chat with your roommates until you have to get ready for class.

9am: Leave the apartment, and if you’re lucky like I was, trek down the 6 flights of extremely steep and narrow stairs to get to street level. Walk 5 minutes down to the metro. Freak out when you think you don’t have your metro card, proceed to find it in a really obscure pocket, and continue on to the metro. People watch.

9:15am: Get off the metro, and walk 5 minutes down to the bus stop. Pray that the hundred or so people at your bus stop aren’t all getting on your bus. Get on the bus, and if it’s rush hour, fight for the tiny spots by the open windows so you aren’t drenched in sweat by the time you get to class.

9:50am: Get to campus, and take the ten minute walk down to your class which provides you with a beautiful view of the Bosphorous, and step over about fifty stray cats and dogs on the way.

10am: Class. If you’re taking political philosophy like I did, leave feeling probably more confused than when you walked in.

12:15pm: Get out of class. Normally my roommate was done at the same time so this meant we would either get the bus/metro home together or meet up with some of our friends who lived on campus and have lunch with them.

2 or 3pm: Depending on if you had a lunch date with friends or not, these were normally the times I got home. Go to the grocery store for your daily shop (remember, everyone walks here and relies on public transport a lot more, so you grocery shop every 1-2 days and buy as much as you can safely carry home with you). Normally by this time, plans were made with roommates and/or friends on campus to go and see a site or two.

4:30pm: Meet friends in an area to see said sites.

8pm: Return from site seeing, rest a little, and start to make dinner with roommates.

10pm: Full stomachs, lots of sightseeing and walking, meeting new people, and classes = a tired student by this time.

11pm: Drift off to an Ezan if you’re lucky, and get ready to wake up and repeat this all again tomorrow!

Kim Donohue is a junior at the University of Kentucky majoring in International Studies and Political Science.