International Istanbul Exchange Reflections Students UK

Istanbul: Cressie’s reflection

Highlights of the trip…

It is hard to articulate in words magic of the moments where we, as young people, Christian, Muslim, Lebanese and British all came together in serious thoughtful discussion and talked about the things that mean so much to us all. For me, the highlight of the tip was the amazing discussions we had about current issues, such as the role of religion in democracy and stereotypes. Whilst these were very serious discussions we also had a lot of fun expressing our ideas in innovative ways. For example, as the British team, to show stereotypes that exist in this country we did a sketch of a bus stop scenario where everyone getting on the bus was representative of a stereotype, I enacted the part of a mentally disabled person. The exercise made us realise how many people suffer from being stereotyped and made us evaluate how easy but wrong it is to quickly judge others and make rash assumptions.

Visiting the AyaSofya, along with the Topkapi Palace was pretty awe inspiring and most certainly humbling, not only was it fascinating from a social and historical perspective but it also me to find out more about Islam. The trips out were also just great fun and allowed us all to relax together and to continue on are discussions from the morning.

EPIC FUNNY MOMENT: Jenny and I decided to go for a casual 7am run through the cobbled streets (complete with quaint trams) when we see everywhere people in 1920’s dress, men in linen suits and bow ties, briefcases and brogues- complete with hats no less and women similarly well dressed, and I think to myself, wow, Istanbul really is so different, this is so cultured- it’s just like a film set…. Turns out, it was a film set and Jenny and I were in the way !

I have made true friends who I hope to stay in contact with for many years to come and have learnt so much about myself, other faiths and cultures- who could ask for more?! One big thank you to ‘The Feast’!


What I learnt…

The trip really taught me to be more tolerant and aware when I was expressing my own views that I didn’t just automatically assume that I was ‘right’. I also learnt so much about the rich history of Istanbul, which provided such a fantastic backdrop to this truly incredible trip. Istanbul, formerly being a Christian city and now a Muslim one captured the sense of integration and communication between the two faiths, the city itself is also located both in Europe and Asia: there was a great feeling of the East and West meeting. The city itself seemed to embody the diversity of culture and faith that our group represented.

P.S. Judah also learnt to eat, properly, with a knife and fork !

(2019-08-19 01:08:37)