Tons of Muslims gathering for activities, Sultanahmet in the background.
Submitted by Rachel Whitcomb, Global Ambassador in Istanbul, Turkey
A long skirt and covered shoulders gets you through most neighborhood and sights safely.
One of the most interesting parts about Istanbul and Turkey in general is that although it’s a secular state, and has been for decades, the population is 98% Islamic and at this time of year, Ramadan, it certainly shows. This unique combination leads to a variety of clothing styles- modest coverings ranging from burqa (fully veiled except for the eyes), hijab (only the face is showing), and just covering all of the arms and legs, to the modern European/Western style dressing. There are certain parts of the city that you need to be aware of what you are wearing, but most of the time it’s not something we worry about.
I’ve been in solidarity with the half of the Muslim population here in Istanbul that has been fasting for Ramadan- that’s no food or water from morning prayer at 3:55 a.m. until the sun sets at 8:40 p.m. (yes, that many hours without food or water). It’s been a challenging and humbling experience, especially to be a part of it around so many other people! By day, the city and areas around my campus are pretty barren, but after the sun sets people come from all over and hang out and celebrate. It’s a beautiful sight to see!
Submitted by Kristen Schlotman, Global Ambassador in Madrid, Spain.
Jumping in Segovia.
I can’t believe I only have one more week in Madrid! This experience has been such a whirlwind. Never in my life have I done so much in less than a month. One of the best parts of studying abroad is traveling on weekends. The first weekend all of us in USAC were in Spain for the Running of the Bulls. Without a second’s hesitation we bought tickets and headed to Pamplona. Most of the other students in the program also bought tickets. We knew right away this was going to be a great weekend to bond and to get to know each other.
Pamplona was probably one of the crazier weekends of my life. The bus departed from Madrid at 2 PM on Saturday and by 8 PM, we were ready to experience one of the biggest celebrations in Spain. Dressed in the traditional red and white, we walked around the city taking everything in. By 1 AM, we were bar hopping, drinking calimocho (red wine and Coca Cola), and meeting people from all over the world. Sleeping was not an option. The city was too vibrant and exhilarating to sit it out. At 6 AM we lined up to watch the running. This was somewhat anticlimactic, but the night itself was one of a kind.
Submitted by Brendan Bond, Global Ambassador in Galway, Ireland
Within a few days of arriving in Ireland, I learned something very important about this country. I was told, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes.” Moral of the story is that the weather here is fickle, always changing and never making up its mind on whether it wants to be sunny, cloudy, windy, dreary, warm, cold, misty, rainy or downpouring.
Submitted by Rachel Whitcomb, Global Ambassador in Istanbul, Turkey.
Oh that’s right…I’m STUDYING abroad…
Sometimes you get so caught up in the traveling aspect of being abroad that you lose sight of what sent you here in the first place. But of course, I’m attending class and doing homework, I would never forget!
With the 2012 Olympics in London upon us, global competition is on our minds. The guts! The glory! The…awesome course selection and weekend excursions??
YES! Abroad101 is joining the fun with our own Global Gold Challenge, ahead-to-head competition of countries competing for study abroad fame. For an entire week during the Olympics (July 27 – August 3) we’ll be running a poll on our asking YOU to get on board with whichever nation you think will come out of the Olympics with the most medals overall.
If there is one thing we know, its that there is certainly a lot to prepare before jetting off to your study abroad destination. Where will I go? What will I study? How will I pay? However, there is perhaps one thing that may be more towards the back of your mind: how will I get around once I’ve arrived? You can’t take that bucket of bolts from high school you’ve got sitting in the driveway and your train card doesn’t really work overseas. Looks like you’ve got some research to do. Let us fill you in…