It’s been about 2 weeks since we returned from our trip, and I miss Turkey’s hospitality. It was a lovely visit that I will never forget. The information on management and international commerce I learned during this trip are priceless and amazing. I am glad to have been a part of LINC Istanbul 2014!
Do you ever wonder how jeans are made?
After visiting Özak Tekstil, the LINC Istanbul class knows not only about the textile industry in Turkey, but also how denim jeans are produced. After an interesting presentation from a company representative, the class was able to walk around the floors of the factory where denim jeans are conceived.
We saw how denim jean parts were cut and sewed, how they were stonewashed, how they got the wrinkle look, and much more. The class was astonished to see how lasers burned material onto the denim to create designs and figures on the jeans. We were all blown away to see how stripes were burned onto the jeans to give it a natural look.
With the whole production in sight, it was obvious why quality denim jeans cost so much money. We saw the production of mostly Hugo Boss jeans. This picture was taken in a showroom of the company’s products. I hope to visit more textile companies soon because this experience was just amazing!
Where East meets West…
Istanbul is definitely the city where cultures collide and mix. Everywhere one goes, one will see remnants of a historical city that has been sacked many times. The culture and even the language of the Turkish people is one that has European, Middle Eastern, and Asian roots. The people of Istanbul all seem to be of different ethnic backgrounds. It was stunning to see the amount of mosques around the city—but that’s what makes Istanbul the beautiful city it is.
These pictures were taken at the same spot with just a 180 degree turn. The Hagia Sophia with the 4 pillars and the Blue Mosque with 6.
Istanbul is definitely the city of mixtures!
Because words continue to fail me, I present a week in Instagrams.
In the context of my last post, it’d be easy to assume that I’m discussing further political agitations, which have occurred during our time here, but that would be wrong. Rather, I’m discussing an entirely different kind of riot, and one that was definitely among the most powerful experiences of my life.
Here’s what they looked like
This Thursday my LINC class and I visited a disadvantaged Turkish grammar school in a poor part of the city. The students who ranged from very young children to budding teenagers were ecstatic to meet us.
We first played games including the human knot which proved relatively difficult given the language barrier:
After we finished that game, I taught some kids to play Ninja, which is a personal favorite of mine, and then progressed to an activity in which the students drew their “dream.” As cheesy as this may sound it was fascinating to see what these Turkish students dreamed about. One such girl was especially ambitious:
After that we left our individual classroom for a reception by the principal and some of the parents. Following that we entered the hallways and were promptly mobbed by hundreds of students who asked for our names in order to find us on Facebook. Even more strangely, they asked for our autographs as though we were celebrities, which I suppose, in their eyes, we were.
Overall, it was an unforgettable experience. My memories of these students will last a lifetime.
But first, let me take a selfie
The first word that comes to mind describing this trip: busy. The second: spectacular.
Between the cultural experiences, including semi-stress-inducing Grand Bazaar, and upwards of two company visits per day, it is safe to say that the group is generally exhausted. But with all that this city has to offer between sights and nightlife, sleep has become the last priority on my list, far below not getting hit by a bus (which has already happened twice).
Thus far, my favorite company visit was Bank Pozitif. I thought it was incredibly interesting how most of the company’s operations were moved online. They took such a standardized structure and innovated it to be tailored to their own needs, in this case specific low-risk ventures and a young population.
On a more cultural note, we visited an elementary and middle school to drop off some books. The kids were so excited to meet us, it absolutely melted my heart.
Note to self: selfies breaks all language barriers.
With everything in boxes at home—about 15 minutes away from USC—I need to unpack what I desperately packed away, in preparation for my trip to Istanbul. I found myself not exactly prepared to go to Turkey because I didn’t quite understand how close the trip really was.
"What are you doing this summer?" This is the question that I have heard maybe a million times from friends (both from and not from SC) and some parents. I gladly exclaimed, "I’m starting my summer with a trip to Istanbul with Marshall," every time because it is the first trip of my summer. Who would have imagined how close that date truly was.
Going to Istanbul has been a conversation-starter for the past month, but it is now almost a reality. I have been mentally preparing myself. Visiting the other side of the world, with a different time zone and culture—is an idea that is too large for words to describe. This idea is not one that people grasp easily, especially if they have never been outside of their country or state. I feel blessed to have this opportunity and look forward to all the learning, bonding, and fun I will experience due to this awesome program.
I was not too sad on move-out day because I know I will see friends on Saturday, at the airport. Until then, stay safe and Fight On!
A Tale of Two Istanbuls?
In just three days my class and I will be jet-setting across an ocean and two continents to touch down in one of the most fascinating cities in history. It is a world center of trade, an international capital, steeped in history, and filled with exquisite architecture and breathtaking vistas.To say that my classmates and I are excited would be a gross understatement. I know that I for one have certainly romanticized the city a great deal, but it is important to recognize Istanbul for what it is: the leading city of a rapidly developing country full of its own issues, challenges and growing pains.
The recent May Day protests offer an example of such challenges. The protests involved conflict between the Turkish police and the protesters included teargas, water cannons and thousands of riot police. However, there is no need to worry about our safety. The protests were very limited geographically and have not continued beyond May Day (a traditional day for demonstration) and it is not expected that any further protests will occur while we are abroad.
Nevertheless, it is important to be mindful of these growing pains. Understanding the context of these demonstrations offers a valuable perspective to truly experience both Istanbuls: the romantic city we’ve all been dreaming of, as well as the dynamic capital with all its challenges.
- Thomas Donovan
Packing Stress - Katie Buckner
It’s a bit strange that the year is over. I cannot believe how fast this semester has gone, let alone my freshman year. Amid all the stress of packing up my dorm and studying for finals, I am beyond excited to be traveling to Istanbul. As I just finished my last final, it finally hit me. In only a few short days, I’ll be across the world walking among structures that are hundreds, if not thousands, of years old. It’s incredibly exciting, and mildly terrifying, considering I haven’t packed.
I consider myself a bit of a culture nut, so I am most excited for exploring the city. I can’t wait to see what adventures unfold meandering through the Grand Bazaar or exploring one of the many historic mosques. Or when we try to cross a language barrier with a taxi driver.
Thus, let the packing begin. See you in Turkey!
Its been over a month since our trip to Turkey, and going over the photographs, I relived the amazing week yet again. There were 2 occasions I clearly remembered like it was yesterday. The afternoon we had a group lunch in a local place and the last official night where we went on a cruise for final presentations. Here is a photo for each!
The beautiful bridge linking Europe and Asia. We had final presentations on the cruise, it was just slightly difficult to concentrate with the beautiful sunset viewed from the middle of Bosphorus - but totally worth it!
That is us adventurously experiencing local cuisine. The hot dish for the afternoon was intestines - rather chewy, with rice stuffed in them, not as horrid as everyone thought they would be!
Miss those days, but the memories are there to keep!