I never thought I would actually be spending a semester abroad and yet here I am, with seven days until Istanbul! Admittedly, I have not packed my bags yet but as a serial procrastinator, it isn’t that surprising. The thing about being a serial procrastinator is, I always get things done in the end. Although my bags are not packed now, I know that two nights before my flight, I will being flying around the house in a frenzy, packing, double checking, and triple-checking, that I have everything I need. As I type this, I’m waiting for a ride so I can purchase some of the things I will need (adapters, towels, possibly a first aid kit?). I prefer to think that I’m not really procrastinating, so much as I am compartmentalizing in order to deal with the shocking reality that I will be living and learning in Turkey for the next four months.
I am not new to travel. Before the age of 10, I had already been to Germany, Italy, Ethiopia, France, and England, and yet, none of that can prepare me for what is to come. You see, I was born and bred in the DMV—the catchall term for the Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia metropolitan area—and instead of taking college as an opportunity to leave the area, I chose to stay in DC and study at American University. Living in Istanbul is so different from what I’m used to and, I would be lying if I said, it didn’t scare me to leave the warmth and familiarity of the DMV and my tightknit Ethiopian family. But, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and you cannot really grow if you spend your life in a confined space.
Going abroad during the spring semester means fielding off questions from relatives during the winter break. The question I have gotten the most about this decision is: Why did you decide on Istanbul?
Originally, I decided on Turkey because it was an opportunity that would be more accessible to me financially. However, as I looked into Istanbul, I realized that Istanbul would be the perfect place for me to combine my passions for Cinema and Public Communications. Turkey has a rich history, which often lends itself to a strong and storied film industry as well. I’m super excited to be taking courses at Kadir Has University or Kadir Has Universitesi, as it is called in Turkish. At my university, Film Studies is under the umbrella of literature and film production is under the umbrella of communications. So it’s refreshing to attend a university where both my passion for film and my passion for communication will be based out of the same department (The Faculty for Communications). Overall, I’m excited about this entire experience and I can’t wait to see that the semester brings!