Interview with Aynur Yürekli

Whenever you see her in the corridors, she is smiling and joking with teachers and students. Aynur Yürekli is the assistent head of the School of Foreign Languages and the first person in the administration students go to when they have a problem. We were curious who she really was, and asked her a few questions to get to know her a bit better.

Where were you born? How was your childhood?
I was born in Eskişehir. I liked it there and I worked there for eleven years before I came here. My childhood was not in Eskişehir, it was in Germany. When I was three months old, my parents took me to Germany. I stayed there for 14 years. I had a wonderful childhood.

Did you have any adaptation problems when you came back to Turkey?
Of course. Mainly because the school system was totally different. You had to wear uniforms. It was quite weird and funny to me. At that time, they also dealt with our hair whether it was long or not. Everything was forbidden, but I’m talking about years and years ago. So, that caused one year of adaptation problems, yes.

Which university did you graduate from? Which departmant?
Anadolu University, English language teaching. My BA is from Anadolu University, my MA from Bilkent University. My PhD is again from Anadolu University. I’m still a student at Anadolu University, the open university. I’m studying Public Relations and I’m going to graduate this year. Just for fun. My GPA is 3.88 out of 4.

Do you remember any experiences from your university life you would like to share with us?
I had a wonderful university life. One funny thing I remember: We were taking second foreign languages. My friends, a couple, were together taking German. However, the girl didn’t know any German while the boy was from Germany, so he was really good. During the exam, they sat back to back and the plan was for the girl to copy from the boy. She did, actually. The question was “how do you spend a regular day?” So, the guy started “I wake up and I shave” and the girl wrote “I wake up and I shave.” It was the funniest thing ever. In brief, if you don’t understand what you’re doing, don’t cheat.

When did you move to Izmir? What are the differences between Eskişehir and Izmir?
I came to Izmir in 2003. Like Izmir, Eskişehir is one of the most modern cities in Turkey. Except for the seaside, I think a lot of things are the same. The social life and the way teenagers and adults spend their time is quite similar.
We heard you have a daughter. How does it feel to be the mother of a girl?
It’s a wonderful feeling, especially because I spent around twelve years with her after I got divorced from my husband. She is my homemate, my friend. And now, she has grown up, she is 21. At the moment, she studies Cinema and Television at Anadolu University.

You know about the explosions in Turkey. Do you think Izmir is safe now? How about our campus?
Every single location is at threat at the moment. Not specific to Izmir, it can really happen anywhere and to anybody. In our university, I think, they have very strict security now because they are checking all the entrances and ID cards, cars and bags. It has to be done. It should continue to be like that. Maybe, they can use X-rays.

There was a door on 4th floor and then it closed. What was the reason for this?
The explanation that they gave us – I am not the architect or decision maker – was that when the building was planned in terms of building safety, it had to be independent. Otherwise the municipality wouldn’t have given permission to use the building. If something happens, we should all leave the same way using the emergency exits, so we know who is there, and who is not. That’s for our safety.

It is hard to work with young students?
It is not hard, it is actually enjoyable. I have been doing this job for 25 years and you get used to it. Together with young people, you can keep up with all the new developments!