Can you please introduce yourself briefly? How long have you stayed in Turkey? Where do you live in Istanbul?
My name is Anja Skov Marcussen. I am from Denmark. I came from Roskilde University. I study at Department of Communication and Art. I have been in Turkey for four months and for most of the time I have been living in Hisarüstü here in Istanbul, since I go to Bogazici University. Now, I am spending the last week in Kadıköy on the Asian side of the city before I go home.
Tell us why you prefer to attend Erasmus in Turkey?
I chose to come here because it was an amazing opportunity to live in beautiful Istanbul and to try something completely different. Also, the political situation is being portrayed in the media as something that makes it dangerous or unsafe to go here and I wanted to prove them wrong.
What about your thoughts before coming to Turkey?
I was so excited! My family and friends, however, were a bit worried.
Did you undergo culture shock in Turkey?
I wouldn’t say no. I enjoyed it right from the beginning.
How was your first week in Turkey and in the university?
My first week was very busy! We had a lot of events and classes were starting but it was all very exciting and I met so many nice people.
What do you think about education facilities of Boğaziçi University?
The south campus of Boğaziçi is so beautiful! Especially in the spring, it is one of the most beautiful places of the city.
When comparing two universities’ academicians, are there any differences in
terms of their approaches to students?
In Boğaziçi, they have a lot of midterms and exams, which I wasn’t used to in Denmark. However, the classes are smaller, so the teacher will get to know your name. I liked that.
How do you find the courses you take during the programme?
Some of them I really liked; they taught me a lot. Others were not exactly as I had hoped they would be.
Can you communicate effectively with local people? How did you manage to solve the language problem?
I learned a little bit of Turkish here but managed to get around just fine – people have been so friendly and everybody understands what a smile means.
Did you get used to the transportation system of the city and the place you stay
in terms of accommodation?
I am very impressed by the transportation system here in Istanbul. The Istanbul Card is easy to use and it gives you access to metro, busses, ferries and public toilets. I stayed right next to my university but whenever I had to go somewhere, I made great use of the public transportation.
Can you tell us some cultural and social differences between your hometown
and the place you live in details?
We all got used to the term ‘Turkish time’ which relates to the phenomenon that Turkish people (even professors in class) will arrive late and it is completely accepted. In general, the pace here is less stressed and people take time to talk to each other and drink lots of tea.
What do you think about the Turkish cuisine?
I love it! I can’t get enough of all the different options and all the delicious vegetables. I already gained weight here and even did a cooking course to try and learn to cook it at home.
How is the city in terms of living conditions as an Erasmus student?
In general, a lot of us pay too much for accommodation. So, don’t be shy to negotiate a price. I think it is also because there wasn’t a lot of Erasmus students this year. But the living conditions are good!
What do you think about the social life in Istanbul?
It is great! People are friendly and I made a lot of friends here.
How is the social life in the university campus?
Also, good! There have been several festivals and even on weekdays students hang out of the grass at south campus. Lovely atmosphere.
How is the city for sightseeing?
Brilliant! I have still not seen everything for four months. There are so many hidden things to do and see in the city. Museums, historical sights, exhibition – you name it! The student museum card gives you access to a lot of these things, so that is great.
How is the night life in Istanbul?
Good as well. You can party until 7 in the morning or just go out for casual drinks. The options are endless.
Which cities and places have you visited in Turkey so far?
Cappadocia, Ephesus, Fethiye, Antalya and Izmir.
What are the things that you like the most in Turkey as an Erasmus student?
It is so hard to choose! I think the people have been the thing that left the biggest impression along with the stunning beauty of the city.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of Istanbul?
Advantages are that you are never far away from anything – if you want it, you can find it here. Disadvantages could be the crazy traffic and all the people in the metro during rush hour.
What are the difficulties you encountered and the happy moments you
experienced during the programme? Can you tell us a memorable moment you had?
The difficulties were mostly trying to keep up with readings for exams. The happy moments were so many. Taking the ferry to and from the Asian side, going for a walk in Sishane or Karaköy, eating breakfast in the little streets of Besiktas, sitting in the park in Moda, chilling at south campus. And the endless cups of tea. In general, this city has been very good to me.
How did Erasmus in Turkey change your life?
It has given me a less stressful approach to life that I hope I can keep it when I come home. Also, it has introduced me to a lot of great people and a city that I will come back to.
Did the Erasmus Programme meet your expectations, why do you think so?
Yes, it did!
Do you have any recommendation for those who are planning to attend Erasmus in Turkey?
I would recommend them to use Duolingo (an app) or something else to learn just the basic things in Turkish – it always makes people so happy that you can at least say a little bit in their language.
Tell us why the others should choose Erasmus in Turkey!
I think the answers above was enough to answer that question. But I will say it again: you should come to Turkey because it is nothing like anything else or anywhere else you can go. It will be an experience of a lifetime.
Please complete the sentence: I love Erasmus in Turkey because it has made me very happy; the people, the city, the food. All of it!