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International Students are in Istanbul

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Nowadays lots of young people decide to go into higher education abroad but taking a decision on moving to another country and choosing a destination might be hard. In our interview, international students from all around the world will share their attainments and experiences about their life and study in Istanbul for those who want, plan or dream of studying in Turkey.

Henny, 22, Taiwan, exchange student at Koç University, living in Turkey for almost 4 months

About friends in Turkey:

I met some Turkish friends in Taiwan, they’re studying there. And now I’m an exchange student in Turkey, they also introduced some Turkish friends to me. As for foreign friends, since my university arranged a great orientation week for all the exchange students, so I made some great foreign friends here. I like my university a lot, the environment is awesome!

About negative traits:

The efficiency. Turks always do things in a quite slow pace.

About decision on coming to Turkey:

It’s related to my major, I study Anthropology and History. I want to know more about foreign cultures. And Turkey is quite different from Taiwan, from religion to the history and so forth. Therefore, I picked Turkey as my first priority, I was spontaneous to come here!

About plans in future:

I plan to apply for my master in here. So now I’m preparing for the application.

About Turkish arts and Turkish language:

Actually, I don’t know too much about Turkish artistic culture. And I think this is related to my poor Turkish. Now I’m still learning Turkish and I hope I will know more. So far, I have read some literature which were written by the Turkish writer, Orhan Pamuk. They’re “Istanbul: Memories and the City” and “My Name is Red”.

As for films, since I took a course and the professor would play some movies to discuss issues that related to Turkey. Such as “Dedemin Insanlari”, “Beynelmilel”, “Takva” and “Harem Suare”. And well, though I don’t understand too much, I enjoy all of them so far.

Philipp, 23, Germany, Erasmus student of Political Science & International Relations at Bogazici University Istanbul, living in Turkey for 8 months

About friends in Turkey:

I have both but generally more international friends than Turkish. I would prefer staying with Turkish mates, but am currently living only with international students. I hope to change that for the 2nd semester by moving out to a mixed Turkish-International flat.

About negative experience in Turkey:

I had never any negative experience in Turkey 🙂

About economy of Turkey and the future of Turkish market:

Turkey seems to enjoy the opposite situation of most EU member states at the moment. The rates of inflation decreased constantly since AKP took over the government office in 2002, while the economy is dominated by a promising high annual growth rate. Nevertheless this successes seem to be partly made by heavy foreign investments (esp. EU and US) and allowing heavy public and private crediting (its surprising how many individuals have credit cards in a country where monthly salaries are far below the EU average). The export is far behind current import rates. A couple of parameters show that Turkey could just become the next country encountering a heavy crediting bubble if advanced industrial production and export are not developed at least as fast as the annual growth rate.

About future plans:

Istanbul is definitely a great place to stay with a vibrant urban life and an enjoying high living standard. I am definitely interested in spending at least some part of my Masters Program in Turkey – either Ankara or Istanbul, while working here is not an option for me right now. Domestic salaries are much lower than in the EU and working possibilities for Political Scientists are quite limited (mostly in foreign companies, international think tanks, NGOs or the German diplomatic service), something the city life couldn’t compensate – at least not on a long-term perspective.

About the most attractive things in Turkey:

It’s about the small everyday pleasures I meet in Istanbul: Sitting close to the shores during my daily ferry ride to the European side in the morning, enjoying the smells of the street which are often completely different to what I know from Germany, listening to the sound of the Turkish language, strolling through the streets in the evening and watching old men playing Tavla. It’s picturesque and romanticized, but definitely creates a feeling of deep well-being for me.

About Turkish artistic culture:

I daily enjoy the sound and spirit of Turkish music – in taxis, dolmus’ (minibus taxi translator’s note), at university and while cooking at home. It even strengthens the feeling of being far away from home and reminds me that Turkey is split between the European and Asian side. I read a lot of Turkish Political Science articles, basically for courses at Bogazici University. Unfortunately my not much developed Turkish doesn’t allow me to understand Turkish literature in its native language, but I try to get major meanings regularly by translating headlines and small texts in Turkish newspapers. Istanbul is meanwhile THE city of cultural life in Turkey, bringing European, African, American and Asian influences, traditional musicians and international stars together and offering far to much opportunities such as vernissages, movie festivals and theatre spectacles for someone studying or working. One could easily spend a whole year by only attending cultural events, visiting art museums and strolling around the thousand and one antique shops in the city.

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