With the start of autumn, I believe the most beautiful times of Ankara has come. It is possible to enjoy Ankara with warm mornings and soft breeze during evenings. Ankara opens his arms to New Comers to Ankara, say students starting college or expats to work for a new job with this nice weather. For most students the registration and settling parts are done, the only thing left is to wait for schools to open. It is hard to adjust to university or new job, harder to come from another place and start from zero though also joyous. New friends, places, streets… Lots to be discovered await for you. There are ways to ease this transition. The following advices for surviving in Ankara will be like “lifehacks” for you.
#1 Get Over Your Prejudices of Ankara
I want to start my advices with this one. Do not listen groundless gossips about dullness of Ankara! New Comers to Ankara comes with a pack of prejudices with them. If you get rid of them, you can find lots of activities to do in the city. We agree that life in Ankara is more placid but we define this placidity as “peace”. If you want, you can find various activities for yourself, you only need to stay positive and change your point of view toward Ankara.
#2 Host or Dormitory Staff Problems
You’ve finally at university, away from your family staying in at a new home or at dorms in a new counrty. Unfortunately problems await for you! Because of our radical traditions, houses are not rented to students or bachelor adults and if it happens they try to make things as hard as they can. But don’t forget this Turkish idiom “Tatlı dil yılanı deliğinden çıkarır” which can be translated as if you act nice, even the worst kind of people start to behave nice to you as well. With a smiling face and a cute first impression, we believe you can win your host’s heart. Same things go for your dorm staff as well. With the tension they feel on their shoulders because of the responsibility of hundreds of students, they can be problematic towards you sometimes. Always be polite and all smiley, do not forget to say “good morning” or “kolay gelsin” (which is an idiom you say whenever you see someone working to wish them luck). You can even bring some chocolate for and chat with your dorm staff to become friends. We tried and it worked perfectly!
#3 Be positive: Ankara is a Young City!
Even though Ankara is known to be a “civil servant city”, an important part of the population is formed by civil servants and students. That’s why there are student-friendly and cheap places, if you hang out around universities you can discover the ones you’ll love. And of course a must for the student cities is music bands! Even though they can’t become very popular and rich, they’re known by almost everyone living in Ankara. You can find a band that you’ll like and have fun with their warm concerts. While we’re at it, we must also point out that the night life at Ankara is very vivacious. Tunalı-Bestekar, Bahçeli-7. Cadde, Kızılay-Sakarya are the perfect places for night life of students.
#4 Fresh Air, Nature and History
Mostly the ones coming from cities with a sea side complain about life without sea in Ankara. They try to find comfort in songs written for Ege region and Istanbul. You are young, don’t ruin your youth by only complaining. Discover the natural and historic beauties of Ankara. Go and ride bike at Eymir Lake, see the history by visiting Ankara Castle and Ulus, spend a peaceful weekend at Seğmenler and check Kuğulu Park which is one of the symbols of Ankara.
#5 Street Tastes: Kokoreç , Köfte Ekmek and Many More
We should also give some advices about food. The mobile food carts you’ll find at every corner of Kızılay are classics for this city. Those fancy stands hugs you and opens a new world of food for you. You may find yourself in a love triangle with kokoreç, sucuk ekmek and köfte ekmek. If you think those tastes aren’t for you, you can even find a midyeci (mussel) or nohut pilav cart. You can even find an old woman preparing some gözleme. Those people keeps you company while you’re eating your food, asks you about your school and gives you advices.
#6 Why to Say “Hocam” ?
Hocam (or professor in English) is not a title in Ankara, it is a word to address people and you will hear it constantly. Though it is more common among METU students, you’ll see everyone in Ankara says “hocam” to each other. There are several rumors where this comes from. For some, it is a symbol of everyone’s equality in Ankara. Some says it is because there are things to learn from everyone in this city. There are many more rumors for this addressing style but new comers to this city thought they are confused with professors each time someone calls them “hocam”. Know that it is used by everyone from every age, soon you’ll start to use it as well.
#7 Don’t Catch Cold!
You may be a new comer from a coastal city or you may haven’t tasted the famous Ankara cold. Don’t be fooled by those sunny days and sweet chilly nights. Around November you’ll find yourself shaking from cold. With the coming of winter, don’t go out by light clothes by looking at sun, take your coat even you don’t want to carry it all day. Be sure, you’ll be proud for your smart move when sun starts to set. But don’t be scared, you can survive cold weathers of Ankara with right choice of clothing! Leave that knitwear you love and start looking for jerseys that will keep you warm.
Basic advices for New Comers to Ankara ends here. For more to do and activities to attend, keep following La City by Lavarla! Your second step is here!