Can you please introduce yourself briefly? How long have you stayed in Turkey? Where do you live in Istanbul?
Hello! My name is Alexa and i am 23 years old. Art has always been a passion for me. I have chosen Istanbul to attend Erasmus because this city is full of emotions. I have stayed in Turkey to study Industrial Engineering at Istanbul Technical University for one year. Regarding my accommodation, I have lived in the district of Kurtulus. It is the best because the area is so close both to the Faculty of Management and to the city center.
“It is a city with a soul of its own”
Tell us what made you choose to attend Erasmus in Turkey?
Being an Erasmus student at least once in your student life is said to be full of lessons.It is one the 0 valuable for your personal growth, regarding cultural differences and interpersonal communication. I have chosen to attend Erasmus in Turkey, especially in Istanbul. It is a city always in motion, full of young people with so many beautiful cultural aspects. It is a city with a soul of its own.
How were your thoughts before coming to Turkey?
It all came so hard at first.I was nervous and anxious. Leaving my hometown to live in a foreign country had a huge impact on my behavior. To sum up, I did not know what to expect, but still I was so happy to be doing this.
Did you undergo any culture shock in Turkey?
At the beginning of my journey, it may not be honest to say that no, so yes. The differences between cultures are always there, so until I got used to the idea of having once-in-a-life-time experience I was a little bit anxious.
How was your first week in Turkey and at the university?
My first week was full of confusion. New university, new people, new everything. It was thrilling, but scary at the same time. I enjoyed it more after I got used to the newness of my life in Turkey.
What do you think about education facilities in your university?
The education facilities in my university are completely enough for everything we need in order to achieve our competences after bachelor.
When comparing two universities’ academicians, (former college and your university) are there any differences in terms of their approaches to students?
Somehow yes. The approach to students differs in terms of the ability of understanding and the maturity of your knowledge.
How do you find the courses you take during the program?
The courses I took in Istanbul, at ITU, were more than what I expected. I learned so many things, from art to technical competences. I may not have expected to learn so much during one year, but now I can confess that in my Erasmus year I have learned more than in the other three years of my Bachelor. 🙂
“Language barrier is not a problem in Turkey.”
Can you communicate effectively with local people? How did you manage to solve the language problem?
Language barrier is not a problem in Turkey. Everybody was so helpful that body language and a bit of every other language we know is more than enough. Moreover, basic conversational Turkish may be easy to learn.
Did you get used to the transportation system of the city and the place you stay in terms of accommodation?
Transportation was done mostly by metro. Maps and internet helped me a lot to get by from point to point.
Can you tell us some cultural and social differences between your hometown and the place you live in?
The most important cultural and social difference is the fact that in Turkey, people are eager to help while in my home country people are more skeptical when it comes to strangers. Once, i entered a shop and the shop assistant was greeted me so nicely. She served me with a cup of tea.That surprised me.
What do you think about Turkish cuisine?
Turkish cuisine is the best. Even if my Erasmus is over now, I still eat lahmacun and drink Turkish tea whenever I miss it at some Turkish restaurant in Bucharest.
How is the city in terms of living conditions as an Erasmus student?
The city is huge, you have many options of areas to live in, in terms of accommodation. Moreover, the transportation system is just on point, like buses, taxis, metro, and others. So, I may say that the living conditions are above average, including prices for food and other expenses.
“Social life in Istanbul will for sure make your life complete.”
What do you think about the social life in Istanbul?
Social life in Istanbul is always there. You go in the morning to a shop, you will have the shop assistant as a friend. Afterwards, you go to university, and there for sure you will be in a continuous social environment. Coming home, you enter a supermarket and hear some jokes in half English, half Turkish. And in the night, you go out with your friends. To sum up, social life in Istanbul will for sure make your life complete.
How is the social life in the university campus?
As I said, Turkish people are eager to talk to you and get to know you, so expect to meet a lot of friends during your Erasmus.
How is the city for sightseeing?
In one year, I could not see everything there was to see. However, I got to visit a lot of places in order to hike and travel around. It is somehow easy to get around for sightseeing, even if sometimes you will be stuck not knowing where to start.
How is the night life in Istanbul?
To be honest, night life in Istanbul is different from what I have experienced so far. What makes it special is the fact that everybody is out, laughing and talking out loud.
Which cities and places have you visited in Turkey so far?
I have visited Izmit, the small city nearby Istanbul, Pamukkale and Cappadocia. Not many, but that is just a proper excuse to be back and see more.
What are the things that you like the most in Turkey as an Erasmus student?
What I liked the most being an Erasmus student in Turkey is that I was never less eager to learn and do different things than at the beginning of my journey. I was always busy, even if going out for a walk in the park. Even that was not less exciting.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of Istanbul?
I already mentioned many advantages, and the one disadvantage that bothered me everyday was the fact that I had to climb the hills up and down.
What are the difficulties you encountered and the happy moments you experienced during the program? Can you tell us about a memorable moment you went through?
One difficulty that I can think of is the fact that I missed some food from back home. About one memorable moment that I went through is the night that I got to sleep on a beach with few of my friends, laughing and getting warmed up by a campfire. That one night in particular was amazing.
How did Erasmus in Turkey change your life?
I questioned how to be open minded and to communicate freely. For sure, I am not the same person as I was before my Erasmus year.
“It offers you valuable lessons that you will not forget. “
Did the Erasmus Program meet your expectations, why do you think so?
Erasmus Program offers more than cultural experience, it offers you valuable lessons that you will not forget. It teaches you how beautiful the world we live in is due to cultural differences. Thus, you will appreciate yourself more and the world around you.
Do you have any recommendation for those who are planning to attend Erasmus in Turkey?
One recommendation is to be open to beautiful experiences and to dive in in everything they think may benefit them in the long term. Only you can make your Erasmus period great!
Tell us why the others should choose Erasmus in Turkey!
If you love awesome food, kindness, good conversations, emotions and other good experiences, Turkey is just the place to have them all.
Please complete the sentence: I love Erasmus in Turkey because it got me introduced to lahmacun and Turkish tea!