Best semester ever Past Review

By (Women's Studies, Cultural Anthropology, Duke University) - abroad from 09/01/2014 to 12/22/2014 with

Duke University: Istanbul – Duke in Istanbul

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned how to be independent and to welcome challenging experiences. I learned that I grow and succeed most when I am out of my comfort zone.

Review Photos

Duke University: Istanbul – Duke in Istanbul Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Classes at Boğaziçi were not overly challenging and professors were often very inaccessible. The registration process was also incredibly difficult and made getting into classes of my actual interests virtually impossible.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Alican Ayanlar and Kara Soyhun could not have been more helpful, fun, engaging, and enthusiastic program leaders. They made this experience the best it could possibly be for each of us and I am so thankful for them!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

While Superdorm rooms were tiny, it was very fun to get to live with three people outside of my program--while also being only a walk upstairs or downstairs from the people in my program. The lack of consistent internet and the very limited kitchen accommodations were very, very frustrating. It was also difficult that the majority of the staff did not speak any English.

* Food:

Turkish food is awesome! Though most of it was purchased from restaurants, which could get pricy. The cafeteria food was very low-quality, but was not awful and was incomparably cheap. The cafe in our dorm was decent and reasonably-priced.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Our program being so small was both a blessing and a curse. It enabled us to get very close with the people within the program which was amazing and something I'm very thankful for, but it also resulted in us tending to be fairly insular. Ultimately, it was generally difficult for us to meet people outside of our program, especially Turkish people, besides our roommates. It would have been fun to have some program organized buddy-program or something to meet other Turkish students.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?


* Safety:

I rarely felt unsafe in Istanbul. It is crucial that people coming here know that it is absolutely different from America in myriad ways, but as long as people are conscious of their surroundings they will be safe and 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)

Because it was difficult to actually cook anything in our dorm kitchen and because we did not have a meal plan/cafeteria food was so low-quality, we had to eat out a lot, which could add up.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? ~$150-175
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Keep track of your finances--it is very easy to overspend.


* 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

Because very few people in the city speak English, we had to learn basic Turkish as quickly as possible. We have been able to use it frequently in daily settings.

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? Spanish 303: Cultural Studies
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? Watch Turkish TV shows and movies, talk with Turkish-language-speakers as much as possible

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
* 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
  • Logistical assistance (helping us get our residence permits, etc.)
  • Getting to explore this amazing city
* What could be improved?
  • Pre-program orientation/information
  • More intensive Turkish classes/more frequent
  • Education on current events
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Information on the registration process at Boğaziçi

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 Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.