Fact: We’ll be in Istanbul in less than 24 hours!

I’m a notorious over-packer. Fact: Airlines started charging for checked bags because of me. I’m also an incurable procrastinator. Fact: It’s the night before our scheduled flight and I’m still not sure what I’m supposed to bring. A friend suggested making a checklist, which sounds like a lot of work. Instead, I’m watching Lady Gaga music videos on YouTube.

Inspired, I’ve made a list of some of my favorite IRP events and experiences from the past module… based on Lady Gaga song titles.

The Fame – The number of quality speakers we’ve had attend our class and guest lecture is beyond impressive. If you haven’t been following us on Twitter (@GWIRPTurkey), here’s a quick roster: Dr. Omer Taspinar from the Brookings Institution; Dr. Jeffrey Anderson from the Institute of International Finance; and Dr. Gonul Tol from the Middle East Institute. Add onto that a visit to the Turkish Embassy for a Q+A session with economic counselors and trade advisors, and our class has covered a lot of ground in 7 weeks.

Poker Face – We had three informal presentations and one business professional dress rehearsal for our client presentation (Fact: The dress rehearsal was recorded and I’m pretty sure you can watch it and see me awkwardly stumble around in heels). After each presentation, we received feedback and answered questions from the professor and our classmates. Talk about keeping cool under pressure.

Just Dance – After the delicious Turkish dinner I wrote about in my last post, a group of us went out. There was a lot of laughing, a little bit of alcohol and a dance party. Though many of us know each other from classes and clubs and projects, this was the first time a few of us had ever hung out in a social setting. I stayed out well past my 9PM bedtime (Fact: I am an old lady), but it was absolutely worth it. Istanbul night life better watch out.

Bad Romance – Istanbul, romanticized as an exotic city where East meets West, is still discovering its identity. It is the only city in the world that sits on two continents (Asia and Europe) and it is the heart of a secular country with deep roots in Islam. Turkey’s political elite has pushed for westernization and ascension to the European Union, but there are signs that the nation is “becoming more of a conservative religious society.”

Beautiful, Dirty, Rich – I remember sending in my final with 23 minutes to spare and thinking how intense this IRP has been. We had deliverables due almost every week, presentations, a field trip to the Turkish Embassy, and an extra Friday class. It’s been non-stop, go go go. But I have to say, I’ve learned a lot. I didn’t even know how much information I’d absorbed through osmosis (Fact: I’m just as good at science as I am at math) until I discussed our upcoming trip to Istanbul with a potential employer during an interview.

Speechless – I also learned that lawyers can’t draw. One of my teammates is a JD/MBA joint degree candidate, so you know he’s insanely smart. He tried to draw a bridge for one of our advertisement ideas and it was like playing a game of Pictionary with someone who doesn’t understand the rules. But he is really, really smart. Fact: That is what we call a “compliment sandwich”, just one of the many people skills you’ll learn in business school.

Now, in typical fashion, I’m going to go to bed instead of packing for this trip. Fact: I’m probably going to forget something important, like my Passport. See you guys in Istanbul, not Constantinople!
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