International Office - Aberystwyth University

Forking hell

I cannot find a fork in the supermarket. It is farcical. There are rumours amongst the Erasmus students that so and so found a fork, but alas, I cannot find one. There are some discussions about ‘liberating’ some from the canteen it has got that desperate. By the time I next blog I will have a fork one way or another! Another cooking issue is I’m missing my kitchen. I miss my gadgets. Boiling rice in a wok is hard, especially when I’m used to a rice cooker.

I also attempted to do my laundry this week too. This is a challenge when you cannot understand the machines to work out the settings. It took me just over 4 hours to work it out, put it in, realise I had put it on the longest setting and have to wait it out. With a better understanding though, it could be done in two hours, which would halve the price. We pay per hour we have the key to the laundry room, so it cost me 2₺ this time, so despite all my faffing it still was only 50p!

One thing I’ve noticed here is the obsession with advertising something as hygienic. Even the dormitory website advertises the dorms as a “Clean and Hygienic living environment”, the swimming pool rules say “Let’s work together to keep these modern facilities hygienic and healthy”. Just a different cultural perspective I guess. There are no plugs in the sinks because, as I understand it, in Islam cleanliness can only be achieved under running water. Doing the washing up this way feels very wasteful of water and you use so much washing up liquid.

It’s the same everywhere – one night last week about 4am I was awoken by the squealing of the fire alarm. Speaking of dorms, I can’t imagine how packed it’s going to feel when everyone is back. There is something like 30 rooms on my corridor, all with 2, 3 or 4 people in them. I estimate probably 90 people. Between us there are 6 toilets, 8 showers, 1 freezer and 2 hobs. How that will work out is going to be fun. Even Brynderw has better figures than that!

Turkish class has been fun, though I am getting the mickey taken out of me by my new friends for my overenthusiasm. I try to explain it to them by pointing out how awful it makes you feel that they can speak multiple languages, are studying not in their native language, while I’m sitting here with only GCSE French. I’m slowly getting my head round simple interactions like ordering food and drinks, but if they ask me a question in return I’m lost. Thankfully I’ve made some friends with some Turkish speakers, so they tend to handle more complex interactions for me.


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We went on a trip to the Ataturk Mausoleum last week, that was fun, though a bit awkward when they started talking about the British Forces attacking them. J I’ve included a few photos. There we met some military personnel who were doing National Service. Apparently males have to do 6 months conscription and for those 6 months they cannot go home, their families cannot visit them and the pay is very low (they do get room and board). The personnel at the Mausoleum considered themselves very lucky to get that posting, as they could have been sent to the East. There was a little parade where we saw the changing of the guards that a stationed at the entrance. Some of the exchange students almost got in the way, one coming within half a metre of a boot in the face!

Classes start on Wednesday. My timetable here is so packed. At Aber I had on average 7 contact hours a week last semester – here I have 17! There’s no point lying, I’m a lazy student. My day is scheduled by when Homes Under the Hammer is on, followed by half an episode of Hinterland, some cooking, then more Hinterland. But now I get attendance marks for lectures! What is this madness? If I miss too many classes I fail the module. Is this what science students feel like?

Until Wednesday it’s free time. I’ve spent way too much money so far, so I plan for these few days to be cheap. We’re off to Ulus, the old town, tomorrow, or at least some of us who didn’t find out about the group going to Istanbul in time to book our flights. I’m waiting for the weather to get better before I go travelling really. I’m a fair weather travelling fan only I’m afraid.

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Until next time – or a new Turkish phrase I learnt, hadi bay bay.

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