Turkey is a popular destination among international students due to the quality of education and worth living lifestyle. Turkish culture is close to both east and west with a highly strategic location. There is an ideal mix between oriental and European influence and international students can study more than 400 Master courses in the English language. With heady cultural diversity and a dynamic economy, Turkey is having modern cities in the world. This country is offering a quality of living according to the international standards. In this article, I am sharing my own experience as an exchange student at the Selcuk University of Turkey.
Health and Transportation
I feel proud to say, that only after staying there for one semester, Turkey is my second home and I would love to visit this country again and again. The health and transportation services are extremely well covered, and I was able to visit the many parts to the city till late at night and there were no transportation hurdles for coming back to my university accommodation.
International students are provided with good health insurance facilities by the Turkish government. Students having general health insurance can receive medical treatment and services in private hospitals by just paying a small amount. While staying there, I got sick at sometimes of the season, I got a fever, I caught flue and even kidney pain. But my teachers have been so kind to me, and I enjoyed great health care facilities at a university hospital.
There is comfortable, safe, and easy transport in Turkey and international students can enjoy light railway, metro bus, and sea transport. A great discount is provided to international students and in some cities like Konya, they are enjoying free travel services by Tram. Throughout the semesters all exchange students and other international students are enjoying free travel to all parts of the city. All you need to do is visiting an office and they will issue a card, by scanning this card, free travel can be enjoyed.
Cultural and Social Life
There are many cultural and social activities in Turkey, especially megacities such as Izmir, Ankara, Istanbul, are hosting different events and activities to promote cultural values. Turkey is enjoying a great number of tourists due to its natural landscape, and good hospitality. There are four seasons in Turkey and is a suitable option for both winter and water sports. I have been there in the summer semester, but at the beginning of February, there was snow all around and later the weather started getting normal. I enjoyed both winter and summer there. Participation in these activities is providing an interesting experience to both international students and tourists. Personally, I enjoyed Turkish culture, especially the Mevlana museum is worth seeing and it reminds me of eternity. I am not supposed to forget the warm welcome and hospitality of local people and my honorable teachers. I always felt like I am staying at my home with my parents, as everyone was so kind and helping. Even the shopkeepers, accountants, and management persons in hotels, and shopping centers helped me in every aspect.
Parents of many students offered me to visit their home, and they made yummy and delicious foods for me. I received many gifts from people and enjoyed great Turkish tea and coffee. I also tour to many places with my worthy teachers who were intended to teach and took me to many places for making my tour memorable. I am grateful to their kind efforts for being gentle to me and for helping me to explore a part of myself.
Turkey is a mosaic of cultures and it has hosted various civilizations over a thousand years. So, maybe it is the reason that Turkish people are highly respectful and tolerant of each other. So, international students can enjoy studying there with great peace of mind.
Turkish culture is student-friendly and there are many cultural events, sports and social clubs at all universities. Students can hang out in libraries, café, and restaurants which are active at all times of day and night.
In Turkey, good accommodation according to the International standards is being provided to international students. Dormitories are widely accepted options for international students. In the dormitories, luxurious activities area such as gym, and swimming pools are also provided. Almost all universities in Turkey are offering good accommodation for students. But students do not feel comfortable with staying in the dormitory, then they can easily find alternatives such as staying in a shared apartment or finding a home.
I was staying at Erasmus house; this building is specialized for international students and is covering excellent facilities for living. Staying there was so peaceful, as this house is neat clean, well-managed and furnished. They are providing kitchen facilities with access to cooking utensils and international students can easily cook their own food according to mood and need. There is free access to internet services, and good internet speed can be enjoyed at this place. University is issuing free ID and password to individual students and they can enjoy free internet in all parts of the university.
Delicious Food, Hospitality, and Amicable Relations
Turkish cuisine, stuffed muscles, grilled corn, kebabs, and savory pastries are reinforcement and fusion of Balkan dishes, Caucasian, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and Central Asian dishes. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner meal everything is delicious and is available at cheaper rates. Many locals are offering free Turkish tea to international students and they are showing a good level of hospitality. Since that time, I have been friends with so many students and professionals. I am enjoying great friendship relations with them and it is a good source of mental peace.
There are many restaurants in the vicinity of the university, and I enjoyed great taste and delicious food. They are taking good care of international students and are always offering great services. Many of my teachers and friends offered me delicious food and I still crave that taste.
A great proportion of the Turkish population is young and are all the time ready to present all kinds of possibilities to ensure the comfort of international students. Turkish hospitality is even valid in the literature world and the cordiality and sincerity of Turkish people are always at a high level. Either, I was traveling in a train, or I was wandering on roads, I always got protocol and respect like celebrities. Every time, I told people that I am from Pakistan they showed great care, love, and affection.
No Language Issues
Many people in Turkey know English and a great number of courses are being taught in English. English is a widely spoken language in tourist resorts and major cities. So, international students can easily communicate with locals. In Turkey, you will feel as you are in heaven as you can enjoy countless beauties with a fascinating landscape. As there are no language issues, international students can enjoy sports events, rafting in rivers, wandering in the mountains and interactions with many people.
During my stay in Turkey, I enjoyed good interaction with people belonging to all age groups. They are understanding, helping, and friendly. I often wish to visit this country again due to great hospitality. International students can enjoy the interaction with Turkish people, as English is a widely spoken language there.
More Interaction with People Across the Globe
At present, there are many international students from almost all parts of the globe. If you are studying in Turkey, it means there is a great opportunity to meet people from different backgrounds and mindsets. So, it greatly helps to make good friends and additionally, communication skills are also improved.
There is an opportunity to communicate through gestures, and body language and it greatly helps to listen and understand other people. It can be difficult for some people, but it is the most valuable and effective lesson for efficient communication. It also helps to bridge the gaps in language.
Since I attended a semester there, I am in touch with many people who are belonging to different countries. I am following more cultures, and organizations on social media and my general knowledge have been greatly improved. After my personal experience in Turkey, I believe that every student should attend a semester abroad to explore the world.
Studying in Turkey helps to communicate with students who are different from you and are practicing different customs daily. There are exchange programs also which offer the mixing of different students from different countries in one program. So, this is a golden chance to be friends with many people.
Studying abroad is always a newfound sense of being independent, even if you are far away from your home. This process of studying in Turkey needs to figure out self-management, making discipline and is like a complete self-discovery. It helps to know about yourself, your hidden potentials, and self-capability. Due to this reason, many people find them as a completely new individual and gives an unshakeable sense of happiness and confidence to see the world with a new perspective. In return it gives extraordinary leadership skills and resultantly, you feel more confident at your workplace.
After attending a semester in Turkey, I am feeling more confident, I can easily convey my message to my students, colleagues, and friends. Everyone in the circle is listening to me more carefully, as experience is always a key to impress people. I am enjoying good relations with the community and getting respect from everyone. So, what else, one can expect from life, thanks to my exchange semester, the organizational bodies who sponsored this program and my teachers who helped me to be more confident.
Becoming A Global Citizen
Moving abroad for studying one semester connects students with the whole world. Upon returning home, you will be in touch with many professionals and your friends and you even start calling that place as your second home. The connection with foreigners and foreign places helps you to understand the culture, build empathy and as a result, you will feel a sense of being a better and responsible global citizen that is an essential part to live in a global society.
International students will carry confidence, and skills for the rest of life and will be feeling confident at all the work, and interactable places. They may become social leaders and may influence the lives of many people in beneficial ways.
I will conclude by saying that Turkey is a wonderful country and is a leading attraction for international students and tourists. I enjoyed its landscape, educational quality, friendship with many international students, exposure to versatility, the hospitality of locals and gained skills and confidence. Life is all about experiencing good things, and my visit to Turkey has totally changed my way of thinking and living. I feel proud to be an exchange student, and I recommend international students to visit Turkey for becoming confident, skilled, and happily independent individuals.