Three weeks ago I finally submitted the huge translation project I had been working on since we arrived to Kayseri. I was all geared up to update my LinkedIn profile, build an online portfolio and start looking for a job in earnest, when my fairy godmother in the face of my brilliant friend Jenny waved her magic wand and arranged for me to have an interview in the university where she is working. After 2 interviews I had a job offer! I was hired as an English Instructor for the English Preparatory Program, same as Michael. This program is compulsory for all students before they start their first year of university and aims to prepare students for studying in English medium in their chosen field. In Turkish this is called Hazırlık – literally Preparation.
In addition to teaching at the English Preparatory Program, I also teach faculty courses. This semester I`m teaching Academic Writing to 2nd year students
There are 800 students studying and nearly 60 teachers working in Hazırlık. I am one of 10 or so foreign teachers. So far I am really happy with everything. The university is private and has grown considerably in the 4 years since its foundation. In fact, a new building just for the English Preparation Program and the School of Foreign Languages which we are a part of is being built, or rather it has been built and is being finished and hopefully will be ready for us to move in the next few weeks. For now we are in temporary offices in the building of the Faculty of Science and Letters. My colleagues are great and I am looking forward to getting to know them better.
In our new building, every classroom is equipped with SmartBoards and I`m really excited about using them!
Students and teachers of the English Preparatory Course during orientation.
And one of the best perks? We get free delicious lunches made by an actual chef! Who by the way serves the lunches himself every day. They are fairly healthy, usually with a lentil or yoghurt soup, rice and a meat or bean dish. There’s always freshly baked bread, sometimes there’s yoghurt sauce, dessert or a piece of fruit and water packaged in little plastic cups like they serve on Turkish airlines.
This was my favorite lunch so far: stewed lamb with rice and a fresh salad. n Turkish, when you want to thank somebody for a meal, you say ‘elinize sağlık’, which literally means ‘health to your hands’. I think it’s lovely! I said it to our cafeteria chef the other day to thank him for our amazing lunch of melt-in-your-mouth slide-off-the-bone lamb and yoghurt soup.
This was the second favorite: doner-style chicken with rice, lettuce and pickles And the story behind the name of this post? My students call me Teacher (the way they say it makes me want to capitalize it). As in: Why didn`t anyone bring a pen to a writing class? – Sorry, teacher! Sometimes they use the Turkish word for teacher, Hocam (pronounced ho-jam). Teachers also call each Hocam, sometimes with a name – Yulia Hocam. Coincidentally, a respectful form of address in Turkey, similarly to Mr. is Bey. So you would call your elders or superiors Michael Bey. For women it’s Hanım. On the first day I was listed at Yuliya Hanım in the timetable since the assistant director didn`t have my surname yet.