Despite numerous warnings from the two study abroad students who came before us, Dana and I were still surprised by the level of incompetency at the University here in Istanbul. Actually, at first we thought the claims made to us by Curt and Kristina had been exaggerated because everything went so smoothly at Pre-Registration, where we turned in paperwork and received our logins and passwords for the online registration system. That, however, was the only thing that has gone smoothly since.

First, there was orientation, which was more of a meet and greet for us students than any kind of orientation. Originally slated to be two hours long followed by a campus tour, the “orientation” took only 30 minutes and told us nothing that we did not already know. Basically they welcomed us, showed us some pictures of students enjoying the campus, and told us they would have the documents we need to get our residency permits and local transportation cards “as soon as possible.” (Ten days later and we’ve heard nothing more on the matter . Note: We only have 30 days from when we entered the country to get these residency permits. I’ve been here for 17 days already.) Then we were released for our “campus tour,” which was essentially one student guide leading around some 75+ students and none of us being able to hear a word he was saying. The tour lasted approximately 15 minutes. After this we had a group dinner followed by a “city tour,” which was about as much of a tour as the campus tour had been, which is to say it wasn’t.

The next day we registered for classes, all of which we were unable to register for without permission from the professors, but nobody told us that so we completely freaked out about not getting our classes. We then emailed all of the professors and our advisor in a state of major anxiety. By the next day though, we were enrolled in all of our classes. By the way, we’re required to take three courses from our major plus a Turkish language course while we’re here. This didn’t give us much of a choice as to which classes to take because *only* three classes were offered in our major. Had we not gotten all three we would have been totally screwed.

Then comes the best part. The day after registration we began getting emails from our professors changing the days and times of our classes with the classrooms TBA. It’s been more than a week, class starts on Monday, and we still have no idea where we’re supposed to go. Oh, and we’re supposed to pick up our syllabuses from someplace called Hisar Copy. Uh, is this on campus somewhere? We wouldn’t know, given the campus tour we had. So, um, yeah, really looking forward to the first day of school.

And there’s really no point in asking the International Relations Office for help, even though they told us that they were “here to help us” at the “orientation” we attended, because all they say is for us to “be patient.” And so we wait.