Through Fulbright, I had an incredible opportunity to travel to Istanbul last week to present my research and lecture at 3 of the city’s universities. I was in Istanbul for about a week, meeting with my hosts Wed-Fri and Mon. and Roy & Noah met me there for the weekend Fri-Mon. The Fulbright office in Ankara co-sponsored my trip, along with the universities where I spoke. All of my hosts were warm and took very good care of me, including holding luncheons and dinners in my honor, but the universities themselves were different one from the next. The first university I went to was Bogazici U., one of the most prestigious universities in the city, where I gave a colloquium to the psychology department. Bogazici had the feel of an ivy league school, with a quad surrounded by classic university architecture. I stayed in the guest house on campus in a charming gabled room with a view of the Bosphorous and the Fortress of Europe.

The 2nd university was Bahcesehir, which has more of an NYU atmosphere. Its in the heart of the city with campus buildings scattered among other buildings in the neighborhood. Bahcesehir promoted my talk as a “conference”, but I was the only speaker, so it was a Sarah Berger conference. The talk was held in a huge auditorium and I spoke from a podium on the stage. I believe they videotaped the whole thing. And they presented me with a huge bouquet of flowers after my talk!

Roy took this picture of me with my bouquet in our hotel room. I am re-enacting the moment when I received them.

The 3rd university was Koc U. located about 45 mins drive from the heart of the city. The cab drove to a fishing village, then past the village into the mountains, then along winding roads to the top of a mountain. The campus is sparkling brand-new and there is nothing else around. Everyone seems to live on campus, even the faculty, in a huge housing complex. A person could get a lot of work done with no distractions around, just gazing out the windows at the beautiful views. At Koc, I gave a presentation of my research to the department, and was also a guest lecturer in a MA class.

All in all, it was an amazing professional experience and I am very grateful to my hosts and to Fulbright for the opportunity.