As it is not my first time I Turkey nor in a large Turkish city, I knew what to expect from the way of life here as a whole. What I was not prepared for however was just how different my legal experience and how wonderful the friends I would make here, would be.
In terms of my traineeship, I came here heading into the dark, I had no idea what the office would be like nor what the calibre of my workload would entail. I think at first it came as a bit of a shock to enter into a working environment so contrasting to that which I have previously experienced. The entire set-up and working environment was alien to me and on my first day it took some time to adjust. To witness a firm with a distinct 'consultancy' feel to it was a good opportunity for me.
I am an active person who is used to a non-stop working day; I have only ever experienced the buzz of a vibrant and busy law firm, so to step into something quieter.
At times in my traineeship it has been hard not being able to interact much with the other staff. I am a talkative person and I love being inquisitive and learning new things, when language is a barrier it makes this very difficult and I think it can be easy to feel isolated, I feel proud of the way that I have adapted to this obstacle.
I have also found it a real challenge not to have set tasks each day with daily deadlines. I enjoy working under pressure and being continually challenged, so to assume a 'research' role, albeit equally important, without such elements has been a personal challenge for me. I am grateful however, for the information I have learned through this research, for the opportunity to experience another system of working in a different jurisdiction, for the wonderful food I have been cooked each day and for the general friendliness of all the staff! In all, my working day has been an invaluable personal and professional experience and one I shall look back on with gratitude. After studying comparative law for so long it has been so important for me to experience legal practice in another country and to see how the application varies.
Indeed, my social time in Ankara has been non-stop! I loved the castle and the mausoleum and most of all I love the food- for a meat lover like me each meal is heaven! I have enjoyed every minute spent meeting new people and forming new friendships, I am a real 'people person' and I love nothing more than to interact with those I have never met. I love the experience that is to be gained from meeting new people. From learning of new cultures and countries, to hearing interesting life stories, I truly believe that the personal gain is invaluable. I feel that not only does it allow you to grow as a person, but it also enriches your appreciation of life: of all that you have and of all that you should be aspiring toward. Many of those I have met here have become true friends, not merely those of circumstance, and I will most definitely be coming back here to Ankara to see them again!
I find all big Cities wonderful, but Ankara especially so. For me, the only thing more magical than old and new existing side by side, is the merging of East and West. To walk down a street past McDonalds and Starbucks and have an ancient castle looming up above, is simply wonderful. Yet to have the call of the Mosque in one ear and the chatter of those drinking beer in a bar in the other is, for me, uniquely magical. From the girl who covers her hair to the girl who lets it flow free, the streets of Ankara epitomise all that I love about this country of contrasts.
Each morning from my window I see Attatürks mausoleum stand above the city as a powerful reminder of what it means to have freedom and I could ask for no greater way to start my day! From my daily breakfast of ayran and simit on a bench in Kizilay, to my days in the office, to my evenings of Karaoke and delicious local food – Ankara has, without a doubt, been a first class host. Even through the times I have felt daunted (trying to cross the road in Kizilay/trying to dodge the dolmuş and get to my stop etc.!!) I have never stopped being happy to be here, thankful for meeting such wonderful friends and grateful for such an amazing personal experience!
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.