Usually when I think of finding plane tickets, I think of finding the cheapest and most time efficient one. However, I learned that being able to explore the city that you have a layover in is another criteria to add. My plane ticket was one of the cheapest that I found, I just had to leave a day earlier than expected in order to be able to travel around Istanbul during my 16 hour layover on the way to Dubrovnik, Croatia.

    Out of the day as a whole, the most difficult part was leaving the airport and finding a wifi kiosk at the Istanbul Airport. Don't get me wrong, Istanbul's airport is the best airport I have ever been in, it is just really large and difficult to navigate. Eventually, I was able to find a wifi kiosk and use my passport to get free wifi for 1 hour. This allowed me to contact my friend to meet up with her.

    During the duration of my visit, I had many sites that had my jaw drop, I do not know if I can pick a favorite. Fortunately, my professor connected me with his friends in Istanbul, and they showed me and another student in my program around Sultanahmet Square and eateries. I was able to see the Sulemaniye Mosque, the Blue Mosque, and the Hagia Sophia Mosque (the Hagia Sophia is pictured above). For dinner, we had kebab. I loved it! It was even more delicious with the yogurt sauce. After learning more about Istanbul's history, making friends abroad, and getting to know another student on my program before it even started, I can say that highly recommend selecting long layovers and going out to explore! Don't be afraid to ask your professor for guidance, and ask if any other students in your program want to join you! Trust me, you won't regret it!