Turkey attracts thousands of international students every year. Given its high-status universities, friendly locals, stunning landscapes and rich culture, it’s a highly sought after location for those looking to study abroad.
Turkey is situated in Europe and borders Greece and Syria, and is generally considered safe for people from the rest of the world to visit. You can find a broad range of English taught programmes all over the country, and the process of applying and moving to Turkey is relatively straightforward. It’s also incredibly cheap to live in Turkey, including low international student tuition fees.
If you are considering studying abroad, Turkey is a great place to explore. We’d love to help you, so here are 8 things to know before choosing this route.
8 Things To Know About Studying in Turkey
You don’t need to take much
One of the cool things about living in Turkey is that you are surrounded, everywhere you go, with cheap shopping opportunities. Fancy a faux exact-replica designer handbag? It’s yours for 10 Euros. Plus with the hot weather, you won’t need sweaters, boots or heavy clothing. Your swimsuit, a week’s worth of light clothes and some sunscreen will be enough to get you started. You can then buy cheap in markets without the hassle of bringing 4 suitcases through the airport.
They accept international currency
Normally, it’s only people living in Turkey who have figured out this little secret. But we are happy to reveal that in many parts of Turkey, you can pay in cash using your own currency. There are currency converters everywhere, so if you’d rather exchange into Turkish lira you can. But the locals are normally very happy to also receive pound, euro and dollar notes too. You don’t need to worry about cash exchanges before leaving, and can use your card / contactless payment system in most places too.
Transport is cheap
You can expect to pay pennies (literally) for public transport in Turkey, and depending on where you go, it is very well connected. In the south there are fewer public transport options than in a big city like Istanbul, but taxis are still dirt cheap, and you’ll have no problems locating one. You will find, however, that there’s no Uber in much of the country and you’ll need to find some local taxi numbers instead.
Education is in English
Not all education in Turkey is in English, of course. But Turkey ranks high when it comes to countries offering English taught programs, with more than 20,000 English speaking courses on offer. The locals are usually also very well versed in English so you will get by even if you don’t understand a shred of Turkish. You will also not need to provide any proof of language before applying to a school.
Their legal system is strict
People who have lived in fairly relaxed countries may get a slight shock in Turkey. The rules are a little different. For example, if you come from the USA and are used to freedom of speech and legal marajuana, think carefully about studying in Turkey and whether you’ll be ok with the laws. It is illegal in Turkey to insult the nation, the flag or to deface any currency. It is also illegal to export or sell antiques, possess any type of illicit substance (including CBD), display gay relationships in public, and not carry identification at all times. Plus Turkish punishments are harsher than most countries. But don’t let this put you off. As long as you know and respect the rules, you will be ok.
You’ll need a permit
The technical aspects of studying abroad are often the most laborious. But the good news is, Turkey makes this relatively easy compared to some other countries. They actually want visitors, and welcome international students with open arms, so you won’t have too much of a fight on your hands to get a place at school. After getting your acceptance letter from a Turkish university, the route to getting a permit is quite straightforward. You’ll need to contact your Turkish consulate in your country to apply for a student visa, which can take 15-45 days. Once you arrive in Turkey you’ll need to apply for a student residence permit. You can hold a tourist visa for up to 3 months, which is handy to know if you want family to visit you there.
You are allowed to work
If you want to make some cash in your spare time in Turkey, you can. Your student visa will allow you to work in Turkey if you would like to. However, if you are doing an undergraduate course, you won’t be able to work until year 2, so make sure you have enough funds to last you for the first year without employment. For postgraduate students you can work at any time of your studies. Jobs in Turkey vary, and you can easily find casual employment in retail, hospitality or agriculture.
Accommodation is cheap (and nice)
Turkey has hundreds of thousands of villas, rental units and apartments. And they are cheap. Even a 3 bedroom villa on the Southern coast, with its own pool, will cost you less than a house share in London. You can, therefore, choose to live alone and not be bankrupt in the process. Or, if you want to live with other students, most universities offer very cheap accommodation, or you can share a villa or house with other students in the university proximity.
We can help
We help students find the right courses, in the right country. Whether you want to find an award winning technology college, a thriving and innovative medical school or a world leading institution in art and design, we can help. We have everything you need to know about studying abroad, including statistics, application logistics and fees for each university. Browse our courses and discover more about life as an international student on our website.