Experience Report. Semester Abroad at Yeditepe University. Fall Semester 2013/2014. Istanbul/Turkey

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1 Experience Report Semester Abroad at Yeditepe University Fall Semester 2013/2014 Istanbul/Turkey

2 Motivation There are several reasons for doing a semester abroad in Istanbul, but I personally can name my desire and intention to study in my home country Turkey as the main argument. Having always on my mind to spend some time in Istanbul and get to know the Turkish student and campus life, during my graduate studies I finally had the opportunity and took the chance to fulfill my dream. Being one of our partner universities Yeditepe University was my first choice for a semester abroad. The experience of fellow students who have spent their past semester at Yeditepe, the good reputation and location of the university reinforced my decision to study there. Getting started for the semester It is important to start the preparations in time, since a lot of work is needed to be done before starting the semester abroad. First of all, the application form including the learning agreement with all the courses chosen have to be approved by the coordinator at the home university and also from the international office at Yeditepe. In particular during graduate studies special attention needs to be paid, since the semester abroad is not integrated into the curriculum. However there is no guarantee that the chosen courses will take place or are even offered every semester. These courses can be changed by the host university upon arrival. Erasmus students have a special status and are at liberty to choose from every course offered at the university, not depending on the department they are enrolled in. Secondly, the application form for Erasmus aid and Auslands- Bafög has be to handed in early in time, at least 6 months before departure. It takes a long run to complete the documents and submitting the forms lately will result in disbursements some time during the semester. Concerning documents for the stay in Istanbul a visa and resident permit is needed. Since I am a Turkish citizen, I didn t have to deal with these papers, but the international office and embassies will support all the international students with the needed documents.

3 Flights to Istanbul are really cheap when booked early. During the summer season it might be expensive due to seasonal prices, so early booking is recommended. There are two possibilities to fly to Istanbul. One is to fly to Atatürk airport located on the European side. This is far away from Yeditepe University though. So a better alternative would be to choose flying to Sabiha Gökcen Airport, located on the Asian side of Istanbul and close to campus. A shuttle bus from the airport to Kadiköy, which costs around 10 TL and takes one hour and from there on the bus 19 or 19F to Yeditepe University, which takes another minutes will bring students right to the campus. Accommodation during the semester There are two options when it comes to accommodation during the semester abroad. Students can either stay on campus or rent a flat nearby the university. I have chosen to stay in the dorms on campus. Although I had the intention to rent a flat, it turned out to be more difficult and expensive as expected. Especially the flats around the university are mostly expensive and it takes time or some good tips from people knowing the area to find something proper. I would recommend the dorms on campus, since the rooms are really clean, the staff is friendly, and classes and the library are easily reached within few minutes. Until having made a decision on where to live, the possibility of staying in the dorms for free is offered by the university. Accommodation is best found via the host university and on the internet for example via Craig List: Since the city center is far away from campus, living in the district Kadiköy will probably be the best decision. Kadiköy is a district where mostly students live, the prices are not high and it is really central for visiting many places and sightseeing purposes. It is a very nice and young district with lots of bars, restaurants and shops, directly at the Bosporus. For travelling purposes, it offers good connection to other districts and the European side via busses, metro or ferry. Studying at Yeditepe University Yeditepe University is located in Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey and of the largest in the world with a population of roughly 14 million residents. The first thing that comes

4 to mind with Istanbul is its extremely rich history, which is still noticeable all around the city. The city was formerly known as Constantinople and was arguably one of the world s leading cities for centuries during the times of the Byzantine Empire and the Ottoman Empire. The architectural remains of these times are still highly visible in many parts of Istanbul, since much of the architecture from those periods was well preserved. Four zones in Istanbul are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, including sites such as the Galata Bridge, the Hagia Sophia, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, the Beyazıt Tower and the Süleymaniye Mosque. Walking around the city should never get boring when a city is as beautiful as Istanbul, and never the same if one thinks of its sheer size. Since the city is located on both sides of the Bosphorus it bridges Europe and Asia both physically and culturally, so students that plan on studying at Yeditepe University will be able to experience a variety of cultures while being in the city. Speaking about the Yeditepe University, the campus is really impressive and huge, as compared to German universities. Everything one can think of is offered in the facilities of the campus: restaurants, shops, bank, post office, doctors, hospital, inside and outside pools, billiard tables, PlayStation halls, but also a lot of sports activities such as soccer, tennis and basketball courts as well as a gym and a sauna. The personnel are very friendly and helpful to all students and especially international guest students. The professors are also really friendly and experienced, the classrooms are well-equipped; the bathrooms are clean and hygienic. One of the main and biggest problems on campus though is the internet connection. Wi-Fi does not span throughout the whole campus, so there is no connection available in some places on campus, especially in the classrooms and in the dorms. Culture and nightlife in Istanbul During the semester abroad at Yeditepe University one is offered the perfect chance to experience some of the finest cultural facets of Turkey. Visit one of the bazaars and enjoy some traditional Turkish coffee or tea while having some lokum with it, for a great massage/scrub visit one of the many hamams, or enjoy one of the many great restaurants this immense city has to offer.

5 Istanbul s nightlife is spread out over many of the neighborhoods, with the Galata neighborhood having the biggest concentration of nightclubs and bars. In Kadiköy there are many nice bars with great atmosphere, pubs and fish restaurants. Taksim and Beyoglu you find many small clubs and dance bars and especially at the weekend s people in Istanbul really know how to enjoy life. Also definitely worth a visit is a home game by one of Istanbul s major football teams (Fenerbahce, Galatasaray or Besiktas) since Turkish people are absolutely crazy about football and the home games are always very crowded and intense. Conclusion Concluding I can say that Istanbul and Yeditepe University offer a great chance to experience a different culture, taste the traditional Turkish cuisine which is delicious, visit many historic places and get to know an amazing metropolis. Taken as a whole I had a great time in this amazing city. I had the chance to meet students from all over the world and also made many Turkish friends during my stay. I can absolutely recommend Istanbul and Yeditepe University for a semester abroad!

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