Living in Istanbul as an international student

We take pride in hosting an ever-increasing diverse community of students in Koç, with over 10% of all our undergraduate students coming from countries outside Türkiye. This means you will be joining a well-established international community upon your arrival in Istanbul. After all, there is nothing like a warm welcome that help you settle into student life at Koç!

Istanbul has traditionally been a popular study-abroad destination. As of 2022, there are 58 universities in Istanbul and 13.000+ international students in the city. With 15 million inhabitants, hip, fast-paced Istanbul is one of the world’s largest cities and the only one to span two continents. It is surrounded by the waters of the Bosphorus Strait and the Sea of Marmara and is a cultural hub with breathtaking landmarks such as the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. Istanbul enjoys hot, dry summers and mild, cool, wet winters making it a placid place to live year-round.

Below we have outlined our 5 favorite reasons to study here:

It is multicultural

Istanbul is literally a bridge between the East and the West, its landmass straddling both Europe and Asia. It is a cultural melting pot where people of all cultures and faiths can feel at home. Indeed more than 30,000 international students come here to study, with growing numbers coming from continental Europe, Africa, the United States, and Asia.

It’s friendly

Turks are known for their warmth and hospitality. You’ll soon be drinking çay (tea) and playing tavla (backgammon) with the locals and being invited round for breakfast by your neighbors. Most Turks enjoy meeting foreign visitors and practicing their English.

It has a rich history

Istanbul is an open-air museum, full of ancient sites and ruins that bear testament to the many civilizations that emerged or flourished here, including Greek, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman. Traveling a bit further you will find the world’s best-preserved Neolithic settlement at Çatalhöyük, the famous city of Troy, and the statues of Greek and Persian gods on Mount Nemrut, described by Unesco as the 8th wonder of the world.

The food is delicious

From the savory pastries and kebabs served on the streets of Istanbul to the fresh fish, grilled corn, and stuffed mussels sold on the coast, Turkish cuisine is a mouthwatering fusion and refinement of Central Asian, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Caucasian, and Balkan dishes. You’ll soon be eating olives and cheese for breakfast, drinking yogurt with every meal, and sipping lots and lots of Turkish tea.

A short tour of Istanbul, the city of two continents!

Location: Istanbul Duration: 2:01

It’s affordable

Tuition fees and the cost of living are lower in Istanbul than in most European or American cities yet the quality of education is very high at institutions such as Koç University. There are also scholarships available that cover not only tuition fees but accommodation, insurance, and travel costs. An international student should budget between 500-1000 USD/month to cover living and accommodation expenses in Istanbul (2024-25 academic year).

  • Accommodation: 4,000$ – 10,000$ per year (On-campus)

For the off-campus accommodation costs, please check here.

  • Insurance and health expenditures: 200$ – 300$ per year
  • Monthly expenditures (food, clothing, transportation, going out, mobile phone/internet): 500$ – 1,000$ per month
  • Books and stationary: 200$ – 400$ per month

Useful resources about living in Istanbul and cost of living in Türkiye and Istanbul

Explore all that Türkiye and Istanbul can offer you as an international student through the following links and get in touch if you have more questions or would like to ask one of our students or alumni directly.