University of Istanbul

My route home from the Suleymaniye Mosque took me through the University of Istanbul area.

Like many universities in Europe, there seems to be a main building, presumably with the administration and formal functions, and then faculty or departmental buildings.  Some faculties seemed better off than others, notably Pharmacology, Education and Medicine.  Perhaps that was historical chance, but I fear the uninspiring entrance to Liberal Studies suggests otherwise.

Entry to all parts of the university was forbidden.  I wonder if that is a foretaste of the future of universities everywhere. I could see no sign of student halls of residence, but maybe they were tucked away elsewhere.

I stopped for a late lunch (coffee – invariably good here – and a slice of delicious cheesecake) in a cafe obviously a central hub for students.  Its modest entrance gave way to a series connecting rooms packed with students.  I could not help noticing that in the front area the clientele was almost entirely girls (three elderly Italians and me the exceptions).  I got the feeling that most male students were right at the back in an outside courtyard, while the room after mine did seem to have the odd couple.

It always does me good to pass through a university scene like this and to see young, enthusiastic people. I am struck by how happy, excited and confident these girls looked, with or without veils (and often a mixture in a group). I do just wonder about the mixing of the sexes and whether it is happening, discreetly, somewhere else. Certainly when you see them together, they seem very relaxed, as were the young, mixed student workers in the cafe, which was very efficiently run by an older woman (in veil).

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