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From Australia and Belize to Senegal and Turkey, RWU students are out there exploring our world. Our new RWU Around the World blog follows students around the globe as they experience different people, places, food and of course cultures. Read on, or better yet, write your own story at RWU.

Down on the Golden Horn

June 13th, 2014 by Anonymous

Goldenhorn

ISTANBUL __Day 10 in Turkey started like any other, with our alarm clock consisting of a sequence of howling by the wild dogs that roam the campus. To be honest it is a calming noise to wake to believe it or not. After a morning cay (tea) and a tosta (grilled cheese equivalent) we hop onto the green line of the metro and head south 8 stops to Şişane station. On foot we divulge onto the main street of the downtown of the New City and across the infamous Galata Bridge to the Old City. Once there we hop onto a ferry for our 5-stop tour of the Golden Horn, the river that allows Istanbul to essentially be the city it is today. It only takes us 10 minutes to traverse the river and get onto the other side where we find a cool spot of untaken shade and begin phase one of Professor Dale Leavitt’s detailed history of the Golden Horn.

First Week

June 12th, 2014 by Anonymous

ISTANBUL __Week one in Istanbul has flown by! Day one of week two has presented the group with a new topic, the natural sciences. Today, we set out to explore the primary inlet of the Bosphorus water way known as the Golden Horn, or Halic in Turkish, which means gulf. Upon arriving to the urban waterway, the group first made an appearance to Istanbul Bilgi University.

Istanbul Bilgi University was established in 1996 around the inlet area of the Golden horn as a liberal arts University. When the group arrived to the University, there was electric mix of architecture and green space as the campus was covered with different forms of art. The group was lucky enough to get a faculty-guided tour, which highlighted Bilgi’s School of Architecture. As soon as we walked onto the property, we saw a variety of sculptures covering the campus lawn. These structures were part of a first year architecture project where students had to design and build their own freestanding sculpture.

Day 7

June 10th, 2014 by Anonymous

ISTANBUL __ Knowing that we had to wake up at 8:30 a.m. again instead of the lavish time of 9 a.m., I figured Saturday was going to be a long day. We started out by taking the green line to Taksim Square as we usually do but this time instead of walking right we headed left. After a strenuous downhill walk we ended up at Istanbul Modern, the city’s modern museum. Having only been to one previous modern art museum, I was not quite sure what I was about to witness. To my surprise, I was amazed by the complexity of the artwork inside. There was everything from a plane with a clock next to it depicting “time flies” to motion pictures depicting themes I am still unsure about.

After leaving the museum we took the routine lunch break at a generic self-service place along the Bosphorus. While lunch itself was typical, the location of the restaurant was beautiful. As we were eating, we could look out onto Bosphorus at the passing boat traffic. Everything from little boats, to ferries, to huge cargo ships passed us by.

Day 6

June 9th, 2014 by Anonymous

ISTANBUL __ This city has witnessed the rise and fall of many progressive civilizations; from the early Hittites to the Persians, Lydians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, to the Ottomans. Remnants of each culture are still present in modern Istanbul, but the current population is facing a difficult challenge between balancing its past and building for the future. Who is faced with this demanding issue? Today, we were giving the opportunity to meet with Bimtaş, a consulting company that provides services under the Istanbul Directorate of Metropolitan Planning.

Bimtaş focuses on urban and regional planning, which is executed through strategic public services of regulations consisting of spatial, long ranged, and social programs. Through organized planning, it is possible to create environments that are risk free, healthy, and conserve natural and historic places.

Day 4

June 7th, 2014 by Anonymous

ISTANBUL__Today we were granted one of the best things a college student could ask for, a later start to the day than normal! We all gathered in the cafeteria a full hour later than normal, and had small meals to give us energy for the long day ahead. To start our journey we took the metro to a cable car, and the cable car to the tram where we walked a good distance to the Topkapi Palace, which is where the sultans used to live.

There were many rooms with different types of artifacts in the castle, such as flasks, clothing of sultans, and the world’s 4th largest diamond. The diamond, dubbed the Spoonmaker’s Diamond, is 86 carats, teardrop shaped, and surrounded by many other smaller diamonds. It was magnificent to see something so valuable up close and personal. After the rooms of artifacts, we ventured further in the palace compound to discover walls of beautiful mosaics, a building where ceremonial circumsions were done, and overlooks the Bosphorus.

Breaking Down the Language Barrier

June 6th, 2014 by Anonymous

Turkey

ISTANABUL __ Today was a great day. We started the day off like any other, heading over to the student union for breakfast. I was not only successful in ordering a coffee on my own in Turkish, but I also had the barista teach me how to say “black coffee” and “thank you”. The language barrier is beginning to break down. I continued my breakfast routine by heading to the breakfast line and pointing at the meat pastry that I enjoy so much. We tried to linger in the student union this morning because like most other days since we have arrived, it was thundering and rainy out.

Our first field trip of the day was to the Hagia Sophia. If you don’t know, the Hagia Sophia is one of the key destination points in Istanbul. The structure is a huge religious site that served first as a basilica and later as a mosque. Today, it’s a huge cavernous monument that features elements of both the Christian and Muslim religions. Standing inside of it, one cannot help but be humbled.

One Day; Two Continents

June 5th, 2014 by Anonymous

Turkey

ISTANBUL __ I’ve always wondered what it would be like to travel the world, and today I was lucky enough to touch down on two continents in the same day.  You see, Istanbul is the only city in the world that sits on two contents: Asia to the east, Europe to the west. So, today, during a boat ride along the Bosphorus, we started on the European side of Istanbul (at a site not too far from the Galata Tower), and then traveled to the Asian side where I noticed everything was different and much more influenced by the continent that environment was surrounded by. To do this, we boarded a charter boat and sailed north along the entire length of Bosphorus waterway; along the way we shot photographs of all the beautiful real estate brimming along the seaway.

Update from Istanbul

June 2nd, 2014 by Anonymous

ISTANBUL__Day one of our two week adventure started out like any normal day. Alarm goes off, I rolled my way out of bed muttering to myself how it is way to early for this, but then I remember, through the jet lag and exhaustion, I am in Turkey. I immediately perk right up, throw on some clothes and can not wait to start my day. I do not want to waste a single moment, and on day one I did not.

My roommate Kristen Audette and I head to the student union for breakfast at the Istanbul Technical University-Maslack Campus, the school hosting us. Breakfast starts off interesting because we only know the word for tea which is cay, so we end up pointing to different pastries hoping for the best. I end up with something baked with some sort of ground beef but no worries it is delicious. I will most likely get it again tomorrow. After downing copious amounts of coffee at we meet the rest of the group and start to walk in the rain to the metro station to head to the main ITU campus close to Taksim Square.