Take me back! December 29, 2014

By (Public Policy, 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?
While I had traveled a lot before study abroad, living in a different country for an extended period of time gave me the opportunity to learn from other people's perspectives on a much deeper level. I learned to be much more open-minded and as well as more culturally aware to both the differences and the similarities. One of the coolest moments was when you realize just how similar people really are. The experiences that most influenced me during my semester were my interactions with people- on my program, other international students, and Turks.

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.

The educational experience was wonderful. I loved learning the language and history of where we were studying. The overall academic intensity was very dependent on which electives you take besides the 2 classes required by the program. The program requires students take a Turkish language course and Ottoman History. Then each student takes 2 courses of their choosing from the Bogazici course catalog. My electives were in the economics department but were very reading intensive.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

From help with the residence permits to class registration, the program staff in Istanbul was incredible. It was almost like having parents in Istanbul. They were so helpful throughout the semester and were always available and willing to help if needed.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

At first, I was most disappointed by the "kitchen" in the suites in Superdorm, but I'm realizing I probably wouldn't have cooked that much anyway because food/eating out is really affordable in Istanbul. Overall, Superdorm was nothing special, but you do have your own bedroom space. And, if you're really lucky, you'll have awesome Turkish roommates.

* Food:

Absolutely amazing!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

At times I felt like Duke was more concerned with us being integrated into the Duke group and not the local culture, and it was also harder than expected to integrate. You really have to put yourself out there and get out of your comfort zone, but, once you do, it is amazing!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I didn't really have any health issues, but from what I heard of other people's experiences the program was extremely good at assisting students with any issues.

* Safety:

Overall, I felt much safer in Istanbul than expected. But as a 20 year old female in Istanbul there were some isolated incidents of unwanted attention. I would tell any females to be especially aware, but it by no means detracted from my experience.

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

Finances

* 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? roughly $75
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? One of the best ways to save money was to eat at the cafeteria on campus.

Language

* 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
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? Use the language as much as possible-at restaurants, when shopping, talk to the cab drivers. Also, talking with Turkish students can be helpful because they are usually willing to help you and speak with you for even just a few minutes or give you advice.

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?
  • the on-site program administration
  • the culture (nicest people and great food!)
  • exploring Istanbul
* What could be improved?
  • more reuse of resources from previous semesters (phones, transportation cards, dishes, etc)
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew how much I would love Istanbul so I could've made arrangements to stay longer!

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.