Turkey Study Abroad Country Profile

Turkey Overview

Turkey study abroad programs will immerse students in the country’s multifaceted culture. Turkey is a diverse nation that has been influenced by Ottoman, European, and Middle Eastern traditions; the country itself is, geographically, transcontinental, spanning the divide between Europe and the Middle East. Turkey is packed with historical sites and archaeological wonders that are holdovers from the various occupants of what is today modern Turkey. Turkey was the site of the infamous Trojan Wars; Noah’s Ark landed on Mount Ararat. Today, Turkey embodies many extremes from both Eastern and Western cultures in one incredibly heterogeneous culture.

Cultural Highlights

Despite its heterogeneous makeup, Turkey is an incredibly religious country, with more than 99% of the population subscribing to Sunni Muslim beliefs. Turkish architecture is one of the most readily apparent aspects of culture in Turkey; ornately decorated mosques with inner and outer courtyards are spread all over the country, with variations on design dating back as far as 1299.

Turkey has a thriving cinematic community, particularly in recent years. The industry has been on the receiving end of prestigious international awards, including the Best Director Award at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival. Music also thrives in Turkey, and, like many aspects of Turkish culture, its music has been influenced by a number of other musical genres, from Persian classical music to modern European and American pop music. Though the infusion of Turkish influence in the classical works of composers like Haydn and Beethoven was somewhat of a fad, it allowed for the introduction of cymbals, the bass drum, and bells into the symphony orchestra, which remain today.

Popular Fields of Study

Student interest in Turkey is growing rapidly. There are 150 colleges and universities in Turkey, with more than 30,000 foreign students studying there. Language studies are popular among foreign students, with offerings in Turkish (the official language), as well as Kurdish, Dimli, and Kabardian. However, languages aren’t the only thing drawing students to Turkey, and there are a variety of English-language programs offered in a number of other subjects. Multicultural affairs studies are popular, as well as programs in international relations. Eastern Mediterranean studies are also popular, and there are offerings in business and engineering. Travel, tourism, and hospitality programs are also offered.

Why Study Abroad in Turkey?

Turkey has many unique advantages as a study abroad destination. Here are ten reasons why you should consider studying abroad in Turkey.

1. History

Turkey’s history of human habitation spans back 25,000 years. History buffs will be overwhelmed by all there is to see and do.

2. Food

Turkish dishes are the definition of fusion, with Asian, Middle Eastern, and Balkan influences. Food can vary based on region, which makes it even more difficult to typify Turkish cuisine.

3. Religion

Turkey presents a unique opportunity for students to study abroad in a country that is almost entirely Muslim, providing a unique chance for students to improve their cultural understanding.

4. Istanbul

The largest city in Turkey, Istanbul, is cosmopolitan and the only city in the world that sits astride two continents. Istanbul is the cultural and financial center of Turkey.

5. Stay Active

Turkey is ideally situated for a variety of outdoor activities, from scuba and rafting to hiking and sailing.

6. Cost of Living

Depending on your budgetary needs and the other things you hope to do during your time in Turkey, accommodations and basics can be had for very little money. Rooms can be found for less than $10 USD.

7. Beaches

Turkey study abroad participants will find themselves in a beach paradise. There are so many beaches to choose from, you’ll have difficulty trying to visit them all. The southern coast is particularly popular for beachgoers.

8. Scenery

Because of its unique location, Turkey has incredibly variable landscapes, many more breathtaking than the last. From the Mediterranean beaches to the lunar landscape of Cappadocia, Turkey is a beautiful country through and through.

9. Shopping

Shop and haggle for wares in Turkey’s grand bazaars, including Istanbul’s grand bazaar, one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world.

10. Ruins

There are so many ruins in Turkey, you will be hard pressed to not see some during your time there. In fact, it is said that there are more Greek ruins in Turkey than in Greece.

Turkey Study Abroad Statistics

Turkey Country Ranking: 30+

(based on estimated total outbound U.S. students)
  • % of U.S. students: less than 1%
  • Total US Students 2006/07: less than 1,000
  • Total US Students 2007/08: less than 1,000
  • Yearly 2007/08 Trend: N/A
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