Friday, July 4, 2008


So, I would like to apologize for not keeping this up to date this week. I gave a presentation yesterday, so I'm trying to get caught up with things. On top of that, I got food poisoning, so you'll just have to bare with me (yes, I'm alright).

Professor Bayram suggested that I attend METU's graduation ceremony that took place the Saturday after I got here. It was at 6:30pm, so I figured I could get a bunch of work done beforehand and then go. I arrived an hour early, and sat down in the only section that was still unfilled. Families filled in around me, ranging from 3-30 people. Graduation from college in Turkey is quite an affair as only 2% of the high school graduate population is admitted to college. It was fascinating the see the patchwork quilt of socioeconomic statuses all congregated together in such a cozy stadium. Women with headscarves to men with suits to young women with super tight clothing were all clapping and screaming when their friend or relative came passing by. The ceremony was held on the soccer field on campus. The ceremony started with a parade of all the graduates arranged by department. Each department made signs, lit off fire works, "flew" in by an airplane (Aeronautical Engineering), and or had a chant. After all of the departments had filed passed and seated. There were a total of 7 speeches, two by administrators and 5 by students. What I couldn't believe was the speeches took all of 30 minutes. One speech in the US takes longer than that. When they started to hand out the diplomas, I ended up leaving, but the ceremony didn't take much longer than that. They only handed out diplomas to doctoral students and the 1st and 2nd level students from each department. Each department has a separate ceremony for handing out their diplomas. I really like this version of doing things.The ceremony took at most 2.5 hours which is nothing compared to the 4 hours that it takes for the College of Letters and Sciences at UCD and that's only half of the alphabet. Anyways, if you couldn't tell, I had a blast. This was an amazing start to my exposure of Turkish culture.

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