Merhaba, my name is Gesufrancesco Petrillo and I’m an Erasmus student from Italy, exactly Rome (Università degli studi Roma Tre). I decided to do this university experience for travel, discover a new country, learn a new language, live in a culture different from mine and taste new types of food, so Turkey was my first choice because inside of it I had read that all these features were present. My arrival in the country for the first time was a bit tragic and traumatic, because the truth is that Istanbul is very close to European countries, but very different in many aspects that open your mind which I will explain shortly.
The first thing to do was remove bad stereotypes about the country that have spread lately in all the world and then get off the road and start walking in the city. I can say that personally I started to love the city, Sultan Ahmet Camii is beautiful and magical, Galata Kulesi is immense and visible everywhere, the Bosphorus or Bosporus is incredible and navigable, Kız Kulesi is full of mythologies and perfect for enjoying the sunset and the city is one of the places in the world where two different continents, Europe and Asia, live together in the same space.
I can continue saying that I started to love the citizens, they are lovable people, are friendly with everyone, are able to speak most of the languages in the world in Kapalıçarşı, everybody can drink tea and smoke Nargile with them in Kadıköy and they are a mix from different cultures with different religions, even if the Muslim religion is predominant you can meet churches in all the city.
The last one and more important for me is the food, Turkish breakfast is really big in Beşiktaş, the original Kebap is unique and irreplaceable, Tavuk and Et Döner or Durum are the main food in every corner of the street, Maraş usulü dondurma is an experience to try, I don’t want to say anything about it, I just suggest you try it in Istiklal caddesi and there are other forms of delicious food very similar to Italian food.
Finally I thank the university, Kadir Has Üniversitesi, that welcomed me with open arms and helped me in the first weeks in all: means of transport, accommodation, residence permit and many other things. With a beautiful campus my Turkish university offers me everything from laboratories to excellent classes and from comfortable public spaces to delicious restaurants. I can say now that Istanbul and Turkey in general it’s a unique place to spend six months or a year, I love it and I hope that many other people will enjoy its beauty. In my hometown, we say to tourists: In Naples you cry two times, when you arrive and when you leave! And I can say the same about Istanbul: In Istanbul you cry two times, when you arrive and when you leave! Especially after having incredible moments with people from all over the world and local students, that will remain your friends forever. I will never forget all the experiences lived in Türkiye, THANK YOU!