Istanbul has traditionally been a popular study abroad destination. As of 2018 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 favourite reasons to study here:

  1. 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.

  1. 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 neighbours. Most Turks enjoy meeting foreign visitors and practising their English.

  1. It has a rich history

Istanbul is an open-air museum, full of ancient sites and ruins that bear testament to the many civilisations that emerged or flourished here, including Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman. Travelling 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.

  1. The food is delicious

From the savoury 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 yoghurt with every meal and sipping lots and lots of Turkish tea.

  1. 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 can budget between 300-500 USD/month to cover living and accommodation expenses in Istanbul (2018-19 academic year). To see more details visit this website.

Explore all that Turkey and Istanbul can offer you as an international student here. You can see all the support Koç University can provide you before and during your studies at the International Community Office website.

Emilie Litsas, Exchange student from American University

Location: Istanbul Duration: 5:20