Istanbul in the eyes of Erasmus intern

The metropolis of Istanbul

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Istanbul in the eyes of Erasmus intern

My sons use sometimes questionable but still sweet nicknames of me: a fossil and a dinosaur. For a grandmother like me, it fits sweetly – especially in this post. In my youth, it was extremely rare to go abroad to study – not to mention an international internship. It’s great that things have changed and evolved. Now there are many opportunities and young people are fantastically brave and international.

A seagull sitting on top of Galata Tower.
The view from Galata Tower to Golden Horn on the European side.

Next autumn’s studies are already approaching at a rapid pace. You, awesome young people, here is one more option for your plans; Istanbul is a wonderful, different, rewarding and expanding city also as an internship place. Let’s give the speaking turn to the voice of experience – Konsta:

In which school did you study in Finland and what?

I studied in Keuda Helsinki at the base of Pasila’s tv-tower.

Why were you interested in international internship?

I’ve always been very much into traveling and adventures, so when I got the chance to have a long trip abroad sponsored by school, I didn’t need to hesitate a moment.

Why Istanbul?

Because Istanbul is exotic cocktail of supermodernity and ancient history. It’s also huge world-class metropol whose climate is very pleasant compared to our cold North.

How did you find the workplace of your internship?

I happened to know people from Istanbul so in traditional Turkish way – through connections.

What was your workplace?

My workplace was called 12 Yapım which means ”12 Production” in English. It’s an medium-sized creative agency, which works with diverse media-related projects for small and big clients. One of their client worth mentioning is Euroleague silver medalist and basketball team Anadolu Efes. 12 Yapım has been responsible of the team’s social media content since 2015.

What kind of job you did there?

I was mostly designing and developing websites as well as doing a bit of a graphic design. Sometimes I was also following their video production work, for example in basket ball matches.

How did you adapt to the workplace?

Very good overall. The biggest cultural difference was perhaps the Turkish sociability, which was a little bit heavy for me in the beginning. We are not very used to that kind of almost never-ending small talk in Finland. 😀 Luckily you’ll get used to everything with time.

Were there any language problems?

Because English skills in Turkey are a bit lower level than in Finland on the average, there sometimes were minor misunderstandings about complex work-related stuff. However with a positive and patient attitude as well as with the help of Translator, everything got figured out in the end and I didn’t encounter any insurmountable problems.

Co-workers / the spirit of workplace?

Turkish people are super nice and very thoughful on the average and they took me into the group very fast. Before too long I started to get invitations to a raki-nights and other get-togethers almost every weekend. All in all the spirit was great and leave-no-man-behind-mentality was very present.

What was the working pace in Istanbul?

The work is done pretty much harder than in Finland. It’s wasn’t untypical at all, that people were grinding from the morning till late night in the office. Also working on the weekend was more a rule than an exception. But on the other hand, the interaction between workers was more common, because Turkish people are such a social butterflies and sometimes the coffee and cigarette breaks lasted quite a long time.

What were the benefits of internship?

In addition to improvement of the language and professional skills, the social skills and the ability to get along with people from different cultures got better.

What was the best thing about internship?

With no doubt the best things were new eye-opening experiances and the positive and supporting spirit of Turkish people. Us Finns could actually learn quite a lot about that and not to be jealous and sulk as we tend to do too often.

Were there any disadvantages?

I can’t get anything to my mind. Homesickness and cultural shock may affect some people staying long periods abroad but that wasn’t luckily the case with me.

Do you recommend international internship to others?

Absolutely! I actually think the international internship should be mandatory in many studies – it’s such a mind-expanding and educational experiance profession-wise as well as life-wise.

Tips for those planning to leave?

Perhaps the most important thing is that you should leave with your mind wide open. Do new things as much as possible and don’t be afraid to leave your comfort zone. Be like Jim Carrey in the movie ”Yes Man” and say yes to everything. But then again, this applies to the everyday life as well. 😉

Check out Konsta´s internship recap video below

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