Student Life: Minneapolis Transplant in Istanbul

I don’t want to speak for every student when I say that I am still noticing new things about this city everyday, but my guess is many would agree. Today when we were walking home from dinner at a fan favorite, Durumzade, I found myself double taking storefronts and activities along Istiklal Caddesi. For as much as some things are familiar, like people selling tissues by the metro stairs, or a variety of musical acts along Istiklal Caddesi, new experiences and sites keep revealing themselves to us. For example, before we went to dinner, a man and his monkey passed by us on the street. Nick desperately wanted a picture and the man could tell. The monkey jumped on Nick’s shoulder, we snapped a picture, and then a few more of us tried it. There are some one of a kind experiences in Minneapolis, but I’ve never seen a man walking down the street with a monkey, or maybe I just don’t get out enough.

As a student in Istanbul from the states, the unexpected pleasures of city living have been both similar and completely different than living in Minneapolis. There are those universal city attributes, like construction detours, car fumes, throngs of people, metro rides, the air brake noise of buses, and children playing, but then there are those traits explicitly Turkish. The system for picking up garbage, the stray cats and dogs that are cared for by the population of Istanbul (and us), the cay delivery service, the anything delivery service, the recycling business, the Bosphorus, the boats, the people, and the list goes on. All of this on top of studying here makes for a unforgettable time.

I think that being architecture students here in Istanbul gives us a unique lens for viewing and experiencing the city. The nature of all our classes is rooted in the city. For Visual Culture, we visit museums, take walks, and even our homework deals with different elements throughout the city. First it was the image of the Bosphorus, now it is typologies. Our studio site is accessible and lively, and we are lucky enough to have many on-site lectures in our history class. Istanbul is our textbook and inspiration, and I could not be happier about it.

Today we had a charette deadline. Each student was supposed to come up with two schemes for dealing with the Kabatas site and its ferry stations. There were a lot of interesting things going on and I’m happy to see each person’s creative genius alive and at work again (shout out to / missing Rome and the mapping exercise). Also, thanks to Della for guest reviewing!

Yesterday some students worked in the center and some made a studio space at home, much like what happened in Rome. We spent time discussing, put on a movie or two, and even had a guest drawing with us, Cuong from upstairs. He has amalgamated well with the twelve of us. Below he can be seen with Juan, Nick, James, and Lucy (Lucifer in full) – the building cat, who is especially fond of James, and he in return.

Needless to say, our academic lives and personal goals for viewing the city are blending. We all knew we would be busy, and conveniently for us our classes ask us to take an active role in making our experience abroad as fulfilling as it is.

We are enjoying the warm weather, and one of these nights when we aren’t all sick and coughing, we will make it out for Monday night karaoke with Cuong and have a meandering stroll back home afterwards.

Now, to bed.

(fell asleep while uploading pictures, blog is related to April 1)


Satavee & Lucy taking napsImageImageImageImage



  1. Pingback: Highlights | University of Minnesota Rome -Istanbul Study Abroad Spring 2015

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