Internships Travel

Ankara, Turkey

I flew from Moscow to Istanbul and arrived around 10 pm until my ride picked me up at 11 pm and we headed straight to the bus station for a one-way ticket to Ankara (I was planning to start an internship program in Digital Media the next morning)

The ride was just like any long bus rides and it lasted 7 hours, we were able to stop twice on the way for a restroom break. I was exacted! I never flew via air that much in a month before (10 airplanes rides). I Slept on airport chairs, walked for HOURS, carried my luggage everywhere and my food diet was in-flight meals.

I got to Ankara early at 5 am when I was supposed to arrive around 8 am, but my ride arrived at 10 am, I stayed in the bus station. (sitting on a chair in the booking office) People in Turkey were extremely kind, they would let their family members, friends and the friends of their friends; to take care of you when you need something and keep an eye on you.

Most of the times I just felt day-dreaming 24/7, people around me (who knew me before or had basic knowledge of me) felt strange out from me and my actions. I was continuously tired, had no interest in speaking for a long time, or being near people for a long time. I felt like I just wanted to sleep forever or at least for a year.

Ramadan started in the middle of my travels, but because I was traveling and tired it was permissible for me not to fast. In every country I ever been to; I was seen as a native, spoke to in the native language and simply did not look a foreigner in any way. Even in China and Japan, I was seen as Muslim native of those countries. (I guess the food changes the way you look!) So when Muslims who fast in Ramadan see me eating in public, they don’t assume that I am traveling and that it is allowed to me, but they give me the weirdest looks ever. (I can imagine them thinking; “OMG, how dare she?” LOL)

Unfortunately, I had continuous nose bleeds. My face looked like it was melting off my face, but I always got my caffeine handy.. (without coffee I don’t know what could’ve happened to me) My Internship supervisor or the girl that was responsible for my group of girls in Ankara was the kindest person ever, she let me stay in bed the day of my internship and get some rest. When the next day came, I was also allowed to stay in the dorms to chill even when I told them “I am okay now, no need to worry!”

They brought me breakfast to bed. πŸ˜€

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And that’s when I was shocked! going from fish and greens to sushi, tofu, and noodles, to bread, bread, cheese, and jam/honey.

I looked like this (with my Beijing silk around my neck)

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before sunset, because of Ramadan they were fasting so the whole group got invited over for iftar (dinner, to break the fast) to a family house in Ankara. The food was awesome and the gathering was perfect. Before we started eating the little girl in the family wanted to make a dua (a prayer) before starting to eat or after. It was the cutest thing ever, you can click here to see the video.

Little girl making duaa before iftar

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We later had a traditional Turkish Dessert and Tea in the balcony with the most beautiful view and breathtaking fresh air.

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I stood at the balcony looking through the window for half an hour (I was forced down πŸ™ ) and I heard the call for prayer from a nearby mosque. It gave me goosebumps Click here

🎼 to my ears!!

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The next morning I had to get to my internship (I felt like I was losing time because I was only planning to stay in Ankara for 2 weeks)

The weather was crazy hot.

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They taught me how to take the Dolmuş to and from work. I had to take two and change stops because my internship location was really far. (I was the only one in a Digital Media internship, everyone else was either in medical or business)

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Finally met the most amazing people ever (at my internship site) who later became on of the closest people to my heart. I was placed at one of the best Art academies in Turkey, in my opinion in the world <3 They know everything about Art, Design and everything in between.

The people there were the coolest and most loving you’ll ever meet. We had a language barrier but google translate helped out ALOT and that motivated us to learn each other’s languages, I was learning Turkish and they were learning English just so we can communicate more and more each day. Click here to see a regular work day at my internship. LOL

I worked on so many great projects and my digital Design went sky top because of them. Click here

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I later worked on a calligraphy project (mimicking ancient ottoman letters to hang in Turkish foreign ministries) because I knew how to write in Arabic and I took calligraphy classes when I was younger so I was able to help out πŸ˜€

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Every evening we would get invited somewhere for iftar (dinner to break the fast) either a family house, a university or a hospital. I think we ate iftar at the dorm (a fancy dorm) maybe once or twice and only when I miss the pickup bus from the dorm at 7 pm LOL

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These were like our vitamins (Turkish tea, Turkish coffee, and Ayran)

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My internship fam recommended so many movies, music and Turkish phrases to say (that they believed looked cute when I say them and everyone would just burst out laughing to the floor)

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My shazam app was working 24/7 in Ankara to find the songs that I like

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My Turkish fam also heard that I did not get a chance to explore Ankara so they took me on a road trip around Ankara, we visited Ankara’s castle, ate at local restaurants (best food ever)

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Click here to hear them singing to me (I memorized this song by heart now)

πŸ‘‘

A post shared by Salwa Kisswani (@salwakisswani) on

and went for some hookah and drinks later on. <3

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They also gave me an early birthday surprise (a week early) because I won’t be with them. <3

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I also went out after Iftar (dinner) out with my dorm mates for exotic hookah, drinks, and desserts. Click here

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And we would celebrate birthdays in parks at night LOL Click here

I also had to get some shopping done from Turkey (H&M LOL)

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because after those busy days, I would look like this

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With all the love and kindness I got from Turkey and from everywhere I went to, I thank them all and their kindness and love will never be forgotten.

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I had to Thank my supervisor who was working so hard to help the Ankara girls out and was beyond stressed out (and if it wasn’t for her father’s friend I would’ve never got that internship and meet some amazing people)

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Did I mention what happens every time you go to a supermarket? you feel like you’re in heaven.. (chocolate heaven)

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We also got invited to some fancy dinners with business companies (like 5 girls only.. Yes I was one of them πŸ˜€ )

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And the advantage of having a mall as our neighbor (the dorms) + Shopping of course!

Rooftop coffee breaks with some desserts.

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But eventually I had to say goodbye to Ankara and it’s kindest hearts πŸ™

also to my dorm mates :/

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Next stop: Istanbul πŸ™‚

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Yes they spelled my name wrong (again)

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6 Comments

  • Reply Sarah April 10, 2016 at 9:41 pm

    That’s interesting and cool that you don’t get viewed as a foreigner. That breakfast in bed was indeed bizarre with all the cuisine shifts.

  • Reply Izzy April 12, 2016 at 2:41 am

    Turkish tea is so wonderful! Which was your favorite flavor? And I really enjoyed the photos of Ankara by foot. I only made it to Istanbul but I hear Ankara is lovely. What type of digital media do you specialize in? I do a little graphic design myself so I’m interested to hear about the art institute you interned at. Were things in Turkey as tumultuous as the media depicts?

  • Reply Tricia @ The Adventure List April 12, 2016 at 10:40 pm

    The glassware and dishes the Turkish coffee was served in look so intricate. I would love to have a table service full of them.

  • Reply Danielle Des April 12, 2016 at 11:03 pm

    I love how food was a very important part of your Turkish experience.

  • Reply Cynthia April 12, 2016 at 11:47 pm

    Mm that looks like a delicious breakfast! This was a really interesting read!

  • Reply pros and cons of smoking hookah November 5, 2016 at 6:42 am

    Very helpful and Great information,
    we appreciate advise especially coming from a professional.
    Thanks again and keep up the great work!

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