The last evening of the trip had us ready for a farewell dinner in a private boat along the Bosphorus. A fitting end to a 2 week program that far exceeded our expectations!
While everyone had heard about the interesting geographic location of Istanbul, most of us were unprepared for the cultural and economic stature of the country. As an international student from India, which has over 1.2 Billion people from various cultural backgrounds, I thought it would be hard to impress me with culture and heritage. However, Turkey did just that.
In our two weeks in Turkey, besides our clients and our consulting project, we visited a University, the International Financial Corporation, a non-profit organization that is attempting to break all cultural and social barriers, an entrepreneurial media company, 3 large diversified multinationals, a banking company and a business confederation that represents an annual business value of over $208 Billion.
Having said that, one of the reasons I loved the program is that the business activities were balanced out with our own time for leisure. In groups and separately, we were able to visit the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, Hagia Sophie, the temple of Artemis at Ephesus (which is an ancient wonder of the world), the Topkapi palace museum, the beaches of Kusadasi, the Greek village of Sirince, the grand bazaar, the spice bazaar, the basilica cistern and enjoyed our long walks in the streets of Istiklal.
I’d love to say that our trip to Turkey was exactly what we signed up for, as part of the Consulting Abroad Program. But I’d be wrong. Consulting was merely a small part of the program. In a broader sense, it was a foreign program that involved cultural, political and economic exploration of a country and an understanding of how different organizations including finance, media, diversified conglomerates, non-profits and multinational firms that operate in the region. All this while having fun and forming a stronger bond with our GW classmates. For lack of a better simplified acronym, let’s just call it CAP.