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Grad School in Turkey, Take 2

Last week I finally started my second semester of grad school in Turkey.  I’ve been on break for almost two months, so it’s nice to get back to work.

In the process of registering, I found out that I’m a solid C student here.  Although I’m relieved that I passed, these aren’t the grades I’m used to and I hope that I can improve to at least a B average.  I don’t think blaming my grades on the second language will work for the duration of an entire degree.

Registering was much easier this semester.  My university is moving to doing everything online.  Last semester, we had to go to the department, pick our classes, and get various people to sign some forms before our classes were confirmed.  This time, we just had to log on to our student accounts, take an EU survey about last semester’s classes, pick the ones for this semester, send it to an advisor for approval, and show up.

Of course, I had never logged onto my student account, so I had to go to school to get my password.  Every time I go there, I run into other classmates, and wonder what they’re doing there.  The actual university campus is outside of town, in an area on the way to Eskisehir with all the other universities.  Graduate classes are held at the institute, located inside the city.  The professors’ offices are all at the university, so if registration is all online, why is everyone always at school?  I kept thinking I was missing something, something that was obvious to every Turk but somehow unclear to a foreigner like me.  Is my email confirmation not enough?  Am I really registered for classes? It turned out some guys were contesting the university’s requirement for a 3.0  GPA in order to write a thesis, and others were just nervous about the online process and wanted to make sure they got their classes.

My classes this semester are more interesting: Political Theory II (required, and the least-exciting), Politics in the Balkans and Caucasus, and Turkey’s Accession Negotiations with the EU.  Last semester I only took required classes, and since I’m not a big fan of discussing either theory or ideology, this term’s focus on less esoteric political science topics is a relief!

In a curious shift from last semester, two of the classes are in English.  I didn’t realize this when I signed up for them, but since I picked classes based on interest level, I’m sticking with them.   So far one class is entirely in English, probably because I am the only student, and the other is a hodgepodge of both languages.  It’s interesting and a good challenge for me to flip back and forth.

My schedule doesn’t quite lend itself to travel as well as last semester either – no more five-day weekends! Obviously that wasn’t going to last, so I’m glad I got all that crazy travelling in while I had the chance.  Now that I’m down to normal weekends like everybody else, I plan to take some day trips around Ankara and the middle Anatolia region on days off.  Last semester I found all the time stuck on planes and trains while traveling was excellent for reading and studying for class.  Now I’ll have to be a bit more disciplined.  Wish me luck!

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Patrick Redmon #

    Dear Sarah: For the delay in posting but please know that all of us are, in fact, reading and enjoying your tales of the east! NO MORE 5-DAY WEEKENDS!? If you want, I can maybe recommend smeone who works in the Inspector General’s office and might be willing to hear your complaint! (ha ha) And two of your classes in English, too? Sounds like this will be the more “traditional” semester of school. I would not worry too much about the C average and I’m sure your grades will improve as you become more fluent in Turkish and adjusted to the country, etc… I don’t even want to imagine what my grades would have looked like if in the same situation. Hell, I know what they looked like when attending American schools! 🙂

    Nothing too earth shattering to report from here. Tomorrow (01 March) brings the dreaded day of sequestration talk so you can imagine the knot holes we’ve been pulled through regarding the potential work furlough issues with our GS/WG employees. (about 1400 of them working for the just the actual base with many more working within the tenant commands and activities aboard Quantico!) High School baseball season kicks off this Saturday with the first game down in Richmond. The high temperature is expected to be in the low 40’s. Yum, yum. Always fun to sit in the cold… I’m gonna guess that I might find myself sitting alone this go ’round. Connor got the green light from Old Dominion University and awaits word from Christopher Newport and James Madison. We’ll see soon enough. I have decided to retire this summer – probably during the 2nd week of July. Certainly time for me to go and the timing lines up well with Connor’s graduation from high school. No idea what I’ll do after that (other than drink more beer and PT far less), but I’ll figure it out soon enough.

    Always good to hear from you and keep the blogs coming. I realize that our favorite “travel agent” will be somewhat limited this semester, but postings about your classes are just as welcome as those dealing with your world-wide galavanting. (ha ha) The Balkans and Caucasus course looks interesting, for sure. I’ll go out on a limb and figure that oil revenues might be a driving force within politics in the Caucasus regions? And religion being the driving force in the Balkans? In any event, I think I might enjoy that one. (not sure about the other two…) 🙂 Be well, be safe and I look forward to hearing from you again. Colonel R

    March 1, 2013
    • Sir,
      How did I miss the comment that you are retiring!?! Wow – huge news. I’ve got some time to go, but I’m also looking forward to more beer and less PT! Maybe you can give yourself a family vacay to Turkey as a retirement gift – I’ll throw in my tour guiding skills!

      March 14, 2013

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