Wouldn't Change It for Anything Past Review

By (Political Philosophy (Government), Bowdoin College) - abroad from 09/09/2013 to 12/20/2013 with

Duke University: Istanbul – Duke in Istanbul

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Istanbul is a fascinating and incredible city!

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Some of the classes were interesting, but not necessarily incredibly challenging compared to my classes at my home institution.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The director of the program in Turkey is amazing-- He really went above and beyond for us. We had optional (but awesome!) cultural activities scheduled every weekend that we could choose to attend if we wanted. He was receptive to our ideas/thoughts/concerns and was effective at planning activities according to our interests. I felt comfortable calling him any time of day if there was a problem or something I needed.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The Superdorm is in a really great location, about a 5-10 minute walk from campus. Everyone in the program lived in the dorm (but in separate rooms), which was really nice, as well. We each had Turkish roommates, and I had a great time getting to know students who were actually from Turkey. The Superdorm rules are a little strict, however-- for example, there are no visitors after midnight.

* Food:

The cafeteria food was extremely cheap, and you definitely got what you paid for-- it wasn't very good. That being said, there were a lot of inexpensive places to eat around campus and many great markets/grocery stores. I do wish, however, that the Superdorm had an oven/stove-top...

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I definitely felt integrated into the culture of the university. The school really encourages exchange students to get involved in student clubs, sports, etc.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I never personally had any problem, or any real experience, with healthcare in Turkey. The university has a free on-campus clinic, which was helpful the one time I went there for a minor issue.

* Safety:

I never personally felt unsafe while in Istanbul. That being said, there are safety risks everywhere, and it's important to be cautious. The program went through a safety tutorial of sorts at the start of the program (although I feel that this safety talk could have been better).

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)

Food in Turkey is not expensive at all, and the exchange rate was definitely in our favor.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $80-90


* 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

We had to take a beginner's Turkish language course.

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? Beginner
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? Talk with students at the university that you meet/who are in your classes!

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • 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?
  • Excursions around Turkey organized by the program
* What could be improved?
  • Superdorm kitchens (no stove!)
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Istanbul is an incredible place-- but the rest of Turkey is amazing, too! I was really focused on Istanbul going into this experience, but I'm really happy I had the opportunity to travel to other parts of the country, as well.