Friday, July 4, 2014

Istanbul Not Constantinople!

Whelll Whelll Whelll!! I just bought my ticket. I began the search with the standard model: look for the same flight on as many different websites as possible, compare prices, and find the cheapest. Turns out that going directly through the flight company was my cheapest option!! I went from the cheapest flight being $1308 to saving over $200 with a final purchase price of $1,011!!! That's amazing!! Also, because I have great credit I was able to postpone my payment to a later date so that as soon as my financial aid comes through I can use that money towards my flight thus eliminating my concern that I'd have to pay out of pocket! SO MUCH GOOD NEWS!!!

   So as one can see this city is an old one -the terra cotta roofs and low lying tight corridor housing could have given that away. The port city has been a cross-roads of East and West for centuries. The Greeks occupied this city in the 7th century and King at the time (Byzas) named it after himself as Byzantium. Later the Romans settled and King Constantine renamed it after himself -Constantinople. He made it the capital of the Roman Empire and as we know the Romans were very powerful. Constantinople became a center for commerce, culture, and diplomacy and has continued on that path through today.
   1453, the Ottoman Empire took control of the city and renamed it Istanbul making it their capital city and so investing into the city with icons such as the great bazaar, and royal palace as is seen today. Finally after the Allies claimed Istanbul following World War I, the new Republic of Turkey was formed with the Father of all Turks: Mustafa Kemal Ataturk being the one to usher in a new modern era for the city and the country. Today Istanbul is the cultural epicenter of Europe and I am pleased to have been accepted to study there.

   My flight departs August 25th and I arrive back home to Cincinnati January 8th. Nearly 5 months abroad will be my longest time out of America yet, a thought that is both exciting and nerve wrecking, but I know it will change me as a person for the better. I hope to leave this experience a global citizen and to be comfortable living anywhere but more importantly I hope to have a better understanding of both European and Middle Eastern culture. As our nation and it's neighbors globalize our position as American's becomes one of global importance and being able to navigate an international social climate will only help my goals to work globally in the future. I have always been intrigued by travel as well as foreign people so for me this is a huge step toward a traveling lifestyle.