Students wore mortar-board caps and gowns as they collected scrolls congratulating them on completing their Travel and Tourism Level 3 Diploma in the Turkish capital.
They stayed at the five-star Celal Aga Konagi Metro Suites and Spa Hotel and visited many famous landmarks including the Blue Mosque, considered one of the finest examples of Ottoman architecture in the world.
Students later visited the Basilica Cistern, the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneath the city, and enjoyed a sightseeing bus tour and a cruise on the Bosphorus strait.
They also spend time at the Grand Bazaar, one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world with 61 covered streets and more than 4,000 shops, and the Spice Bazaar, where numerous spices, Turkish delight, caviar, dried nuts and other delicacies and food stuffs are sold.
CONEL covered the cost of the four-day trip and provided spending money for each of the students.
Travel and Tourism student Nassira Ed-Dahmany, 21, said: “The graduation ceremony in Turkey was a lovely way for us all to get together and celebrate the end of our course.
“A few months before we finished, we were told we might go there for work experience and thought if the college could help us with the trip financially that would be great, but if not we would plan something together.
“We came up with an itinerary, which gave us the chance to practise what we’d learnt in class, and in the end the college agreed to pay for the trip. No one expected the college to do something like this. It was like wow!
“We didn’t know we were going to have a graduation ceremony until a month before we went. I’d never been to Turkey before first time. I always wanted to go, but it never happened. Now if I go back, it will have a nice memory for me because I graduated there.
“We managed to cram a lot of things in and learnt a lot about the places we visited. Being Arabic, I have been to many mosques but seeing the Blue Mosque, the architecture and wondering how they built it, was really magical.
“I have enjoyed my time at CONEL. When we needed help, our teacher was there to explain things in lessons and when we were doing our assignments. She really believed in us and encouraged us to do well.”
CONEL’s Travel and Tourism Level 3 Diploma provides students with the skills, knowledge and experience for careers in the UK and abroad. It covers a wide range of areas in the sector including customer service, marketing and sales roles for travel agencies, airlines and holiday companies.
Sandra Mirkovic, Lecturer in Travel and Tourism, said: “The students wanted to make their final year something exciting and create lasting memories in a unique way to celebrate their achievements.
“They had wonderful time enjoying the breathtaking scenery, famous landmarks, fascinating history and amazing shopping areas as they soaked up the culture, food, and attractions of Turkey.
“They have all worked incredibly hard throughout the course in class and on their assignments, and this was a lovely way for them to celebrate the end of their studies at CONEL.”