GUIDELINES FOR WRITING THE EXPERIENCE REPORT Please write this report in English

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1 GUIDELINES FOR WRITING THE EXPERIENCE REPORT Please write this report in English The student report will be published on the: HYPERLINK " Study Abroad website (under Experiences from partner universities) TSH study abroad blackboard page I am fine with my report being published online: YES ANR: Name: Isabela Silva Avila Exchange semester: Fall 2015 Academic year: 3rd year Host University: Bogazici University Country: Turkey I GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE SCHOOL Please, describe: The school and its surroundings: please describe the city you lived in; where is the university located in the city? please describe the campus of your host university what is the best place to go to eat/drink/dance/do sports/etc.? what are interesting things to see and do in your host city? what was different than in Tilburg? Current faculty divisions and special areas Number of students: graduate and undergraduate; number of exchange students Study structure I lived in Istanbul and studied at Bogazici University. It is the top university in Turkey (only 1% of all Turkish students can enroll there). The campus is beautiful and there are many facilities, such as cafeterias with affordable meals, a big library, a sports centre, and a swimming pool with a Bosphorus view. There is a direct metro line to university, thus it s very easy to reach. I lived at Taksim square so from there to university it would take me half an hour with the metro. There are many student cafes around campus and prices are cheaper than in the touristic places such as the old town or Taksim. Istanbul is a great place to live because each neighborhood has its own center and its own character. I was never bored in there, as it s a great place to go sightseeing but also it has a very lively nightlife. Also the currency rates helped a lot, so I could do a lot more there because the euro was worth three times more. Istanbul is quite the opposite from Tilburg - it s a city with 15 million people and its culture is totally different. Also, it s more international. There were many exchange students because there are around 40 universities there, so I was constantly meeting new people. University there is a bit different from back home too because teachers and students are always a bit late and some of the students do not speak good English, so sometimes they would engage in discussions in Turkish. But most teachers had been educated abroad so their quality of teaching is really high. Also, it is important to attend class there because teachers never use power point presentations or upload the lecture content afterwards. II PRACTICAL INFORMATION Information before you left When did you receive the pre-arrival information from the host university? Any difficulties? I got selected to go there around December but I only got more concrete information around April. Their

2 international office was quite speedy with their replies so I didn t have any problems with that. Visa procedure and arrival How long did it take you to arrange your (student) visa (if relevant)? How much did you pay for the visa? How was your arrival organized? Did someone pick you up from the airport/station? How was the reception at the school? Was the administration and faculty well prepared for your arrival? What problems, if any did you encounter? I did not need a visa for Turkey. However, even exchange students need to apply for a resident permit for Turkey and that was very stressful because we had to deal with Turkish bureaucracy, a language barrier and had to arrange all that ourselves. I just took a cab from the airport and found my place easily. There was an arrival day at university with an introduction presentation and drinks afterwards for students get to know each other. Orientation/Introduction activities Was an orientation or introduction activity organized? Did the school s students participate in the reception of the exchange students? Did you have a student mentor/buddy? Yes, it was organized by ESN Bogazici. There was a buddy system but I did not really get in touch with mine, as I had a group of friends already and I did not feel the need to ask any questions. Housing How was accommodation organized? Did you have to book your accommodation in advance or did you have to search for a place to live after you arrived? What kind of housing does the university provide? What support did you receive from the school in locating housing? Were you satisfied with your accommodation? Any special issues or good ideas/useful websites for prospective students? The university offers dorms but those are really pricey (around 500 euros a month) and have strict rules such as a curfew, males and females separated, and no visitors. So I just found something on my own via a Facebook page called Erasmus Flatshares. I was really happy with my room because it had a very convenient location and the price was way cheaper than what I would pay in the Netherlands. Living Costs How did you finance your exchange period, apart from the grant you received from Tilburg University? What were your living expenses abroad like compared to Tilburg? What did you spend most of your money on? What would you advice future students to spend their money on? Please outline your approximate monthly budget whilst on exchange: Housing Food Transport Books Miscellaneous I am financed by my parents. Food and clothes there are incredibly cheap. My weekly groceries would cost around 4-5 euros. Doing cultural things is very cheap too, so museum entrances were around 2-3 euros. Things like alcohol are the priciest since there are taxes on it due to the current government. But besides that, life there was way more affordable. My room was around 22m2 and it cost me only 360 euros per month. Traveling was also very cheap. An an inclusive weekend trip to Cappadocia (hotel,

3 transportation, and food) organized by ESN costed less than 100 euros. Academic Calendar Arrival date & introductory week First day of the semester? Last day of classes? Mid-term break? Examination period? Any special events? The introduction day was on the 21st of September but classes only started on the 28th due to a religious holiday. The last day of classes was on December 25th for me (they do not celebrate Christmas there). We had midterms in November and finals on the first week of January. The International Office Is there an international office? Who is responsible for incoming exchange students? How does the international office function? Are you satisfied with the information provided to you by the international office? There is an international office with an exchange coordinator and her assistant. It works the same way as back home. They would be helpful and always be at the office whenever someone wanted to come by to ask questions. Exchange promotion What kind of activity did you take part in to promote exchange to Tilburg University at your exchange university? I talked a lot about it to Turkish students who were interested in studying abroad, especially in Europe. Social Activities Which social activities are organized by the university/students for exchange students? Is there a student organization for international student? Did you have contact with local students? Did you have contact with other exchange students? Did you travel to other places/countries during your exchange? Every one or two weeks there would be an event by ESN or other student organizations. Those were usually sightseeing activities, trips around Turkey, or parties. I did meet some local students but my group of friends was all exchange, since most Turkish students don t really speak english. I traveled around Turkey - to the Black Sea coast, to Olympos in the Mediterranean coast, and to Cappadocia. Culture and Language Did you experience culture shock while on exchange? How would you compare your host culture to your own culture? What did you learn about your own culture while on exchange? What was different about your host culture than you expected? How would you describe your host country s culture? What did you like and not like about your host culture? Do you feel you learned a lot about your host culture, and if not, what would you like to learn more? If you travelled to other cities/countries during your exchange, were they different than your host city/country, and how? Did you have any language problems with the faculty or other students? Did you follow language courses during your exchange? Did you follow the Erasmus Intensive Language Course?

4 I did not really experience a shock, I actually quite enjoyed the contrasts within Turkish culture. There in general it s either very traditional and religious or very open minded and Western. It also depends on which area of town you are. For instance, around my university and where I lived it felt just like Europe, whereas in the older quarters most people were older and more traditional. Turkey is a Muslim country but Istanbul is very cosmopolitan, so it is possible to have a very Western lifestyle there. Some women do wear a headscarf but no one forces foreigners or secular Turks to cover up, so I felt like everyone respects each others choices there. Turkish culture is very welcoming and warm, people want you to have a good time there and like showing you around and making you experience the local things. The only problem I had was sometimes a big language barrier, because even at the touristy areas people wouldn t know English well. Personal Development How do you think the exchange experience will affect you from a cultural and social point of view? How do you think the exchange experience will influence your future career possibilities? What did you learn from the people you met during your exchange? Would you do things differently if you had the chance, and what would you do differently? What was your best experience, and what was your worst experience? What will you never forget about your exchange period? What was the most important lesson you learned about yourself during your exchange period? Exchange has made me more flexible about things and it has made me value some things back home more, such as the quality of UvT and how clean and organized the Netherlands is. It also made me go abroad again and travel more. The overall experience was great and I cannot think of anything bad. It felt like home very easily and I met a lot of very nice people. I learned that I can actually adapt pretty easily to new places and situations. III ACADEMIC INFORMATION Academic level at a host university In what language(s) are the courses offered at a partner university? Did you follow any courses taught in the language of the host country? Which courses did you take and why? Which courses would you recommend? How would compare the academic level at your host university to the academic level at Tilburg University (e.g.: level of the courses, use of extra material, level of English, workload, etc.)? Is the teaching style primarily practical or theoretical? What teaching method is practiced by the host university: case studies, group work, seminars or lectures (or a mix)? How would you describe the relationship between the students and the teaching staff? In general, were you happy with your academic achievements during your exchange? All classes were in English. I did not take any Turkish lessons because I was already doing 5 subjects and a language course would count as a skill course rather than an academic one. I had to take at least two courses from the Political Science department due to the partnership agreement. I took an Intro to Pol. Science course and a Human Rights course. The other three were from the History department, namely Seminar in Art History, Historiography, and Ottoman Culture and History. I really recommend the seminar one and the Ottoman history one, as the professors for both were very inspiring and qualified. The Political Science courses were not so good because they were rather monotonous and not challenging. The teachers at Bogazici are very qualified, but I feel like the local students do not take university as seriously and do not really engage in class. Also, the teaching style is rather old school, with the teacher just standing in front and talking for most of the time. Nevertheless, I am very happy with the courses from the History department because they were more dynamic and they actually relate to what I am studying (LAS, Humanities major). Exams

5 What types of exams did you have to sit? Written exams Other Can students easily access the library and its resources? Were there public computers available on campus/in university buildings? Yes, there is a spacious library with just a few computers, so you have to bring your own laptop just in case. Description of Courses Please list all courses you have taken at a partner university in the form below: Course title and code Course level (BA/MA) Prerequisites, if any Form of exam ECTS credits you have obtained in total: Comments: Relevance, Difficult/easy, Practical/theoretical, Enrolment problems Course Name Prerequisites Exam Major at TiU Approved as (minor/ elective / extra) Historiography I none Written History Minor Ottoman Hist. and none Written History Minor Culture Seminar in Art This was offered Weekly papers History Minor History (Graduate for graduate and a final course) students only, but presentation in the the teacher made end an exception for me. Intro to Pol. Be in the Pol. Sci. Written Pol. Sci. Minor Science dept/ Human Rights Be in the Pol. Sci. Written Pol. Sci. Minor or Law depts. Please fill in all the courses you have taken

6 Tips for the future students: Would you recommend an exchange period? Would you recommend your host university? What should prospective students absolutely not forget before going on exchange? How can they better prepare before going on exchange to this destination? Was there anything you should have arranged before departure that you haven t? Yes, I would recommend both. I d advice them to save some extra money for traveling around. Also I d recommend them to not go for the university dorm because there s plenty of better accommodation in nicer areas. Also, do not sign up for a room beforehand, find an air bnb for the first week and look for a room once you re in town. A picture is worth a thousand words If you took any pictures or made any videos that you would like to share with future exchange students, please include them (or them separately). Pictures that show your daily life or symbolize your exchange period are especially interesting for future exchange students. Blog If you kept a (photo) blog during your exchange that you would like to share (e.g.: HYPERLINK " HYPERLINK " with future exchange students, please let us know the URL. Contact details: Can the International Relations Office share your address with prospective exchange students, so that other students could contact you for more information? YES/NO

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