Thursday, January 5, 2012

Dormitory for men in Turkey

Amer in front of the dormitory
In Turkey many university students are living in student dormitories. Living in a student dormitory must make student life different compared to living in a flat with flatmates therefore I asked my friend Amer to write how it is to live in a student dormitory in Turkey. Amer is from Bosnia and he has been studying Turkish with me in Gazi Tömer. This post is longer than normal posts in the blog but I liked what he wrote.

It was the 30th of September, very late in the evening, when I arrived to Ankara with seven other guys. We looked around the airport and asked ourselves “what now?” But we were welcomed by two Bosnian students, one Macedonian student and a nice Turkish lady who works with foreign students. While waiting for one friend's baggage problem being solved we asked Denis, one of the Bosnian guys, about the student life in Ankara, the Turkish people, what are we going to do now etc. The first thing he said: “don’t worry, you can change the dormitory if you want, this is only for a few days, maybe you will leave this dormitory tomorrow, a lot of students are living in apartments.” The interesting thing was that nobody asked about the dormitory!

After two hours we arrived to the Tahsin Banguoğlu Öğrenci Yurdu (name of the dormitory). They told us that this dormitory is the biggest in Ankara and that there are living about three thousand students. At the entrance there was a small house with security guards in it. Our hosts were talking something with them and after a few minutes we entered into a beautiful garden. Everything was green, recently cut grass, a lot of trees, a beautiful fountain, covered benches and a lot of lights. I have to admit that after Denise’s words I didn’t expect anything like this. Then they split us into two groups. One group of men and the other group of women.

We entered to the A block, one of the two men blocks. There was also a security room. After a quick talk with securities we were given clean sheets and put into the room 222 on the first floor. When we entered the room I saw one black guy and three others. But the very first thing I heard from my two Bosnian friends was: “dude look, eight beds!”, and the other said: “well this is only for a few days.” I was pretty much cool with it because I liked adventures even before I decided to go to Turkey. After a while, that was going to be my life in Turkey. We introduced ourselves and started to make our beds. After that Dino, one Bosnian guy came to our room and took us one floor below, to the cantina, to take a bite of something. There I saw a fitness room with sauna. 

Before going to sleep it was time to brush our teeth and to clean ourselves. Unfortunately this was another shock. Four bath cabins at the right side and five toilets cabins at the left side, we were talking about four Turkish toilets and one normal toilet. “Oh my God!”, was one of the first sentences I heard. However, I thought it was not so bad, it was clean and I didn’t smell anything. Now I can’t remember why we didn’t take a shower in the first two days. It was probably because of the stress. I have to admit that I was stressed.

In a dormitory room you have four double beds (eight beds) and four double closets (eight closets) that you can lock with your padlock. The closet is very small; you can barely put the clothes from a normal luggage bag. I didn’t have problem with this, but my other roommate Nedim had. Still after two months he hasn’t solved this problem. In the middle of the room you have one meter and 30 centimeters space to walk, two chairs and one table. You can also see one big open closet with eight numbers on it to hang your towel, to leave your books and to put shoes in it. There is one door and one window which you can open every morning to get fresh air because the room with eight big guys who are breathing and doing some other physiological stuff smells very bad.

The roommates were not bad. In the 222 room were certain non-written rules, at about 12 o’clock we shut down the light, and nobody talked, except if there was a real need for it. In the mornings there was no talking when somebody was sleeping. That was a very nice first impression. But, we had to change the room. Denis had warned that we will have to change the dormitory. But we didn’t have to do it but the girls with who we arrived had to change the dormitory. We just had to move to a different room 119. Well I have to admit that I liked the old room much more. Now I and Nedim were sharing the room 119 with six other Turkish. Some of them are really nice. Two of them don’t know to close the door properly. Imagine how it sounds at 3 o’clock in the morning when somebody shuts the door like a bomb explosion. Or when some of them are talking very loud at this time, while the others are sleeping. The most I feel sorry for Ömer, the youngest guy, he doesn’t talk so much and is laying on his bed and studying. Sometimes we have a small party in our room, like celebrating someone’s birthday. The last time it was Ibrahim’s birthday. We had one bottle of cola, one big cake and a lot of other small stuff. It was nice and I liked it. Ibrahim is helping me every time with my homework and maybe because of that he is bothering me with this one question, “do you need help?” One interesting person is Mustafa from Konya I have to mention that he loves to play balaam (a traditional Turkish instrument like guitar), and thank God he changed balaam to a guitar. But he is still practicing about 2 hours every day.

Each block in the dormitory has four floors; on each floor you have 24 rooms with two bathroom-toilet rooms and one cantina where you can watch Turkish heartbreaking series and matches of Real Madrid because of Mezut Özil, Nuri Sahin and Hamid Altintop. First it was interesting to watch the Turkish cheering, but now this is maybe the biggest thing that is bothering me here. Please, forgive me but I don’t have the nerves to talk about the love for Trabzonspor, Arda Turan and Atletico Madrid. Beside the block, we have another building which has really big lunch room. I like the food there. The only thing you have to be aware of is that you must not go to have dinner between 17:00 and 20:00 o’clock, because most of times you have to wait about half an hour or more in one of the two lines to get your food. But the good thing is you don’t have to cook nor wash the dishes. In addition in the same building we have a cafeteria, internet room, laundry room, shoemaker, taylor who repairs clothes, male and female hairdresser and a small market where you can do photocopies or print school stuff. One thing I really don’t like is that you have to be back at the dormitory at least at 23:00 o’clock or you will get problems. But it is possible get a permission and come later without having problems.

Now it is cold outside, but as soon as it gets warmer the big garden of the dormitory is going to be full of students, who are laughing talking, walking etc. Some of them are jogging on the jogging track, the others are playing football in the football field. In my first days, when it was warm at night, I saw that picture and I heard that the best time in garden is going to be in the spring time.  

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