Tag Archives: Turkey

Herkese merhaba!

Greetings from Turkey.

I am happy to say that coming to Ankara was one of the best choices of my life. There is so much to learn in this culture and so many new perspectives to gain, mostly because Turkey differs from Finland quite a lot. One of the biggest differences I noticed is religion, also being the most prominent as there are many mosques and calls to prayers five times a day. These are probably the first things a newcomer will notice here. Also, my exchange takes place during Ramadan, which I am as well excited to experience, although from a perspective of an outsider.  I have been able to visit some of the best attractions in Ankara during my time here, and also places in other parts of Turkey.


Inside Kocatepe Camii, the largest mosque in Ankara

Photos from the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk – the founder of Turkey

Bilkent University is said to be one of the best universities in Turkey. When we have mostly large, project-oriented courses in Finland, the ones in Bilkent are more theoretical and scattered in many smaller entities. Students here need 52 courses in able to graduate, which seems too much for someone who is used to two 10 credit courses per semester. Although, instructors are knowledgeable and know how to teach, which provides good chances for learning.

One of the more practical courses I am taking is International cuisines, in which we prepare foods from different countries and serve them to the customers. As a part of the course we had also an opportunity to take part in Bilkent Mayfest and sell our products there. That was in fact challenging but fun addition to the course! The final exam will be like ‘mystery box’ from MasterChef, everyone getting different ingredients to prepare dishes from.




Istanbul- where the west and east meets!

Greetings from beatiful Istanbul!

5th week of my practical training in nursing is going on here in Istanbul and I´m in love with the city! You can really feel “the wibe” of the metropolis while walking on the street of the main street Istiklal here on European side or taking the crowded ferry to the more local Asian side.

Some statistics say that there are more than 3 million people walking on Istiklal (in the picture) every day and It´s not hard to believe.. The street is 1,5 km long and connects the Taksim Square (one of the main squares in Istanbul) and Sishane metro and funicular stations to each other.

One of my favourite things to do during spare time is to go to some cafeteria and have a drink, sit on terrace and just watch people going by. And there´s a lot of places for doing this! Turkey is famous for its traditional coffee and specially tea. And people DO drink tea, everywhere, all the time.. We have also explored some night life during the weekends and it feels that this city never sleeps. But otherwise I´ve been living my everyday life here as if I was back home and bought also a 2 month- card to gym near my house just to try to take care of myself while being here. 🙂

One of interesting things in this city is the street cats. They are literally everywhere, from grocery shops to metro station. And people take care of them, so they can actually have a good life here on the streets. A cat in a picture has only three legs, but it doesn´t keep him out of going an enjoying the life..


My internship- hospital is called Florence Nightingale and it´s located quite central on European side. I spent first week in First Aid department and from the second week I´ve been doing the training in Intern Medical Department. In addition to some normal nursing care tasks I´ve had the opportunity to see some surgical operations also! There has been some language problems, because a lot of nurses and patients don´t speak any english. Google Translator has been in a  heavy use some days haha.. So there has been an excellent chance to improve my understanding of non verbal- communication 🙂

People work a lot more here than in northern countries. Normal weekly hours are approximately 55-60 hours and normal shift lasts 12 hours (night shifts 14 hours..). Working culture feels quite relaxed; it is very important that the atmosphere is good at work specially with these long hours people do here..! I haven´t found that many big differences to Finnish health care system during these weeks, even though obviously there are some. Working routines may vary, but the goal in health care is the same everywhere in the world!


Merhaba from Istanbul <3

Cheers from Istanbul it is January but sky is blue and white even though temperature is around +3. This is an amazing city and after all these months I have still so much to see. I am so happy to tell you about my life in Istanbul and to give a sneak peek to the travels that can be easily done from Istanbul.





Hagia Sophia, Sultanahmet, Phosphorus…. And the list goes on and on. If you are going to see everything here you will not have enough time for school! I thought that when you live six months you have time to study and explore a massive city thoroughly but I am afraid that I was wrong! In everyday life I love our neighbourhoods Friday Bazaar. Fresh fruits and vegetables with very cheap price and salesmen shouting something that I can barely understand.


And of course the night life. There is something for everyone on both sides (European and Asian) of Phosphorus. I have preferred bars of Kadiköy on the peaceful Asian side. The clubs of city centre Taksim are not that much my piece of cake but Ritim roof is exception in this. A small cosy piece of rooftop and the few stars you can see above you when the club music plays. I am still a bit bitter that I did not manage to see when they light the bar desk on fire while staff is dancing on it.



Cappadocia, Ephesus and Pamukkale trips organised by ESN Marmara and scuba diving trips to Marmaris and Kas together with scuba diving club Müsas. Also a small weekend trip to Athens. Looking at the pictures feels unreal and I will caress these memories for my whole life.




Istanbul is the city of cats and this is also very visible in our school. Looking at cats chasing each other while having a cup of coffee in one of the many cafés inside the relatively green school area is something that I will miss while having coffee at Campusravita. Environmental engineering studies are here highly focused on water treatment, water transportation etc., it is hard work if you take all the same courses as locals but by choosing some technical elective and elective course you will also have some time to ”live Istanbul”.


I hope that my diary has given you a bit brighter picture of Turkey than what you read from media. Despite of the terrible things that have happened life in here goes on. Living here in general might be a bit out of Finnish peoples comfort zone but the amazing city and lovely people make it absolutely worth it.

Lovely Turkey!


I am doing my practical training in Istanbul Turkey, and İ have totally lost my heart to this place! People here are so warm-hearted and helpfull that you can not feel anything but  happy here. Only bad thing I can think of is the time spent here is not enough (not even close!)

In the hospital nurses rarely speak english, so communication in english is with doctors or with the help of Google translate. Body language takes you a long way, and there has not been a situation yet which has not been sorted out. I have also  learned some basic words and sentences in turkish, so every day communication gets easier.

Hagia Sophia in Sultanahmet

I have had a couple of funny situations with language differences. Best one is about my nametag, which says: ‘Nursing student AMK, Erika Isohanni TAMK’. I wore this nametag for the first two weeks at work and wondered why everybody is staring at it. I figured that ‘nursing student’ in finnish is so long word, that they have to read it all over again or something. But no…After two weeks one nurse had the courage to tell me, that ‘AMK’ is a short version of a really bad turkish curseword, and it means something like ‘f**k you’. I wanted to sink under the ground at that point 😀

Galata tower and view of Istanbul

One of the reasons why I love this city is because you can get anything here just by walking in the street. For instance food here is really  fresh and cheap and almost every day I get a fresh orangejuice from some shop while walking away from work.  There is also some weird things sold in the street. One time I actually saw a guy selling live goldfish in the street!

I have gained so many wonderful experiences and  friends here, so I will definitely come back!

Görüşürüz! 🙂



Merhaba everybody from Istanbul, Turkey

I have lived my whole trip whit a local man named Ensar in The Taksim area of Istanbul which is the place where all of the action is ;).  In the first few weeks it was really hard for me to meet new people and get new friends because, to my great suprise, all most nobody in here speaks english. Luckily my roommate speaks english so communication whith him is easy and now I have found friends who speak english so I have been able to get in touch whith local places more!

At first I was astonished about the size of this city and it still continues to amaze me when i try my best to explore the city. The official population of Istanbul is 15 million, but the locals say that because of the homeless people and turists and every unregistered person in here the real population is close to 20 million, which makes Istanbul in the top 5 largest citys in the world!

!IMG_1609In the operating theater

I am doing my practical training in Sisli Florence Nightingale hospital, which is a private hospital and a good one so many things are done similarly to the way we do them in Finland! I have been all around the hospital which has been a good experience and I have been able to see many different wards and how they work. Right now I am in the operating theater and this is really cool! I have seen heart, spine,brain surgery etc. so the experience has been really good and educative.

IMG_1666The Blue Mosque

I have of course travelled to the most famous sights in here and they have been very beautiful. This place has so much history in it that almost every building has a story.

IMG_1668The Hagia Sophia

The Turkish culture is also different and has been an exciting experience to witness it and learn it. The Mosques sing five times a day and the first one starts at 5.30AM so if you are not a heavy sleeper like I am you will most definitely get a free weak up call every morning even if you asked it or not 😀


IMG_1641In the Sea World

The whole experience so far has been good. It has been a pleasure to get to know another culture that is very different from ours and in a city like this you can see the many different sides of life so even though Istanbul is an very exciting and almost magical place there is no place like home!


Food heaven next to Mediterranean Sea!

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First month in Turkey was such a mess for that matter and real living started after all oblicated paperwork. I hope that is the only bad memory I´ll bring from here because otherwise Izmir has been quite interesting place to live. Turkish bureaucracy just can be really frustrating.

I like people in here, we get along well even if they don’t speak English so much. The city is full of friendly people who are really interested of us “white people from northen country”. They  consider us as a people from very far but I don’t feel that we are so different in the end. Stereotypes of Turkish and Finnish people have been changed quite a lot in this time: Turkish people have been also suprised how outgoing and talkative Finnish people we are and for my suprise Turkish people are really hospitable and they act like you have been their friend for ages when you get to know them.

School system in Ege University is very strict which I didn’t quite expect. You must attend all the lessons and teachers might do little quizes for the lessons to test your knowledge. For my luck my lessons are in English but it really depends on a faculty if they teach halfly in Turkish. Subjects are quite understanable but exams are full of squeamish questions. So practicly students in here have to read all the course materials more precisely.

Fun part has been of course travelling together with Erasmus student. I have seen lot of beautiful and interesting places so far and half of the semester is still left. Getting know to Turkish culture by traveling inside the country is something you cannot get from books or internet.

If I would have to say what is the best thing in Turkey I would say food. These people can really cook! And becouse I like to cook myself, I am so happy about all these fresh and cheap ingredients in Turkish food markets. But still best food I had so far here was traditional Turkish dinner from Turkish anne.