Go to Istanbul with Duke! You won't regret it. Past Review

By (Religion/Religious Studies., Grinnell College) - abroad from 02/04/2013 to 06/10/2014 with

Duke University: Istanbul – Duke in Istanbul

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was definitely worthwhile. With this program you get to experience all of Turkey. Through the day excursions in Istanbul and the two excursions around the rest of Turkey you really get a sense of what it means to be Turkish. Turkey (along with Turkish food and the Turkish people) will always hold a special place in my heart. You can't help but fall in love.

Review Photos

Duke University: Istanbul – Duke in Istanbul Photo Duke University: Istanbul – Duke in Istanbul Photo Duke University: Istanbul – Duke in Istanbul Photo Duke University: Istanbul – Duke in Istanbul Photo Duke University: Istanbul – Duke in Istanbul Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Definitely not as academically challenging as my home university. Being a native English speaker definitely works to your advantage at Bogazici when writing papers.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The program directors are absolutely wonderful. So kind and helpful. They really made the whole experience.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The Superdorm was a pretty sad, isolated place. Also you could not have overnight guests so it was difficult when you had friends or family visit.

* Food:

You pretty much had to pay for everything yourself (except on the two excursions) but the food is delicious. I still crave Turkish food and would return just for that. It is also very inexpensive to get a good Turkish meal, as long as you stay out of the tourist areas. The cafeterias on campus were also huge money savers. 1.5 Turkish Lira for a delicious Turkish meal? Take advantage of it.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

You need to make an effort to go out and experience Istanbul, but once you get the hang of transportation and learn more Turkish, integrating yourself becomes easier.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had very few health problems while in Turkey and didn't need to use any of the health services.

* Safety:

Use common sense, learn the social and cultural norms of interaction (especially between genders), and be smart and respectful. You will be fine.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Turkish food in general is pretty inexpensive but you save money by making food yourself and eating meals in the cafeterias on campus.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Around $50-$100/week (Although it did vary)
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Some weeks you spend more than others. It depends on whether you eat out or make your own food. Although it is difficult to cook in the Superdorm (only a hot plate), if you want to save money buy your own groceries from Sok across the street and try to cook the best you can. Also, partying in Istanbul can be expensive! So budget yourself and be smart.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

They teach you practical things that you can use while you are there. And you should use them! The more of an effort you make outside of class the better you do in the class and then you can communicate better with the locals.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? None
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Just try speaking to people! Even if you think you are terrible, the more you try the better you will get. And Turkish people are very nice and willing to help you if they see you trying.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Istanbul itself
  • Friends
* What could be improved?
  • Housing
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? It would have been great to know a bit more Turkish as well as know more about the local attitudes and customs when it comes to social interaction.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'