Already planning my next trip back! Past Review

By (Economics., Duke University) - abroad from 09/09/2013 to 12/03/2013 with

Duke University: Istanbul – Duke in Istanbul

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned a lot about a culture I had previously known nothing about, I met people with very different backgrounds and views on life, I participated in activities I didn't even know existed, I had the opportunity to go to countless historical sites, and I built self confidence in myself. This study abroad program is for the more adventurous individual. It was worthwhile and I wish I could go back and do it all over again.

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 courses are very easy while others are difficult, but drop/add period allows one to choose the rigor they'd like. The Professors of all my classes were always available and flexible.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The staff was amazing! Everyone was available at all times, planning (optional) activities, helping you get around, and teaching you about the culture. They made things less stressful at first, and then provided activities later on.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The Superdorm is suite style living with four students sharing a bathroom, kitchen, and living room.

* Food:

I wish I was eating Turkish food right now! As for the program, they often provide you with the most spectacular meals that are usually aimed at getting one to try different food from each region.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Duke introduces you to as many local foods, traditions, events, and hobbies as possible. Sometimes one has to make the decision between going to a Duke sponsored event (like a Turkish marbling class, or a soccer game), and going out with Turkish friends, and this can be difficult.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I always felt safe.

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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 40
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Eat at the on campus dining hall or on campus in general; avoid the restaurants that are near campus but not on campus.


* 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

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
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? I found Turkish to be easier than Spanish or Italian. With that being said, I only learned present tense. I think that once you learn more than that it will be more difficult. Perhaps memorizing vocab ahead of time (numbers, food, thank you/how are you) would have been helpful.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Excursions
  • People (locals)
  • Beauty
* What could be improved?
  • Roommates in Superdorm: some people got along well, and others spoke little English. It would be nice to pair two Americans with two Turkish students, or have the Turkish students volunteer to live with Americans.
  • The opening tour and first few days felt very rushed, so I still didn't know where anything was or how to do anything.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? How friendly the people in Turkey are and how crowded the city actually was. I knew Istanbul was densely populated, but I didn't know that it was sometimes faster to walk 5 miles than to bus 5 miles.

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 Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.