Can you please introduce yourself briefly? How long have you stayed in Turkey? Where do you live in Istanbul?
I have been here for six months and I am living in Kadıköy. I am studying Medicine. I am studying in Pendik Hospital.
Tell us why do you prefer to attend Erasmus in Turkey?
It was kind of a last minute decision. Italian universities asked me to speak Italian, Spanish ones Spanish and French ones did French too. The only option in east Europe was Turkey where the education is in English. I could go to Poland and Bulgaria but I heard lots of good things about Istanbul and Turkey. I know many people who were here for Erasmus. It was a fascinating city. We got lots of news for Turkey in Germany mostly discouraging ones. But I wanted to go and check it myself.
What about your thoughts before coming to Turkey?
When I decided, it was just before the series of attacks. I was never afraid actually. But obviously my parents, my girlfriend and my friends were quite worried.
Did you undergo culture shock in Turkey?
Not so much. Because I have been living in New Zealand and Kambodia for one year. I like travelling a lot. I don’t think I had a really bad culture shock. It was very weird for me to see the chaos in the university. But I managed to get used to it.
How was your first week in Turkey and in university?
It was so many new things. When I came, my classes had started on the first of September. There were no other Erasmus students. The International Office didn’t know who I was when I came here. Then, I had to do all those organizational things. It was a busy week for me. I didn’t know ESN, I didn’t have any buddy. I had nice roommates that’s how I could survive.
What do you think about education facilities in Marmara University?
I have been only in Pendik Hospital. They have good facilities for the patients but for students, it was not sufficient. Also, the professors were always busy with patients. The classroom weren’t big enough when everyone came.
When comparing two universities’ academicians, are there any differences in terms of their approaches to students?
Some teachers get angry with latecomers but they were late. I think I spent more life time in Turkey by waiting for teachers than whole time in Germany.
How do you find the courses you take during the program?
I was lucky because there were a lot of Erasmus students who came to Istanbul for studying Medicine before. They knew a lot about Marmara and I benefited from them. I knew which course were English and I knew that the courses I took would be acknowledged by my German university.
Can you communicate effectively with local people? How did you manage to solve the language problem?
I tried to learn Turkish. It is enough for buying some stuff and asking for directions. It was more difficult than I thought. Because in university, everyone speaks English very well. In my class, my friends can switch to English so easily so I got lazier to learn it. Most of my friends that I met knew and speak English very well. I learnt a bit Turkish when I traveled around Turkey.
Did you get used to the transportation system of the city and the place you stay in terms of accommodation?
For accommodation, I live in shared flat with one Turkish and one German friend and my flat is similar with the flat in Germany so there was no big change for me. For Transportation, Metro is really good but buses are problem but then I found the app TRAFI and everything became easier.
Can you tell us some cultural and social differences between your hometown and the place you live in details?
Actually, in Germany we have a lot of rules and you should be careful about the rules. You should behave according to rules. Here, of course there are rules but no one cares. For example, you have to attend nearly every class in the university but I saw that many people don’t care about that.
What do you think about Turkish cuisine?
It is really good. I live in Kadıköy and I have every restaurant here so it is so easy to get some food here. My favorite is Tantuni but everything is great!
How is the city in terms of living conditions as an Erasmus student?
I love living in Kadıköy. Living here is cheaper than living in Germany so I like it here.
What do you think about the social life in Istanbul?
Many people said you should have come 3 years ago, it was a lot of fun but I am happy to be here right now. Taksim and other places are really good to go out.
How is the social life in the university campus?
I have just few classes in the campus but I am a member of diving club of the university. I had really good times with them.
How is the city for sightseeing?
The history of the city is amazing. There is a lot to explore.
How is the night life in Istanbul?
There is so much things going on here. I can go any pub or any fun club when I want to here.
Which cities and places have you visited in Turkey so far?
I was lucky; because I hadn’t taken one class, I had 6 weeks for holiday, so I was able to travel a lot. Firstly, I went to Antalya from Fethiye, the Lycian way ,and I went along the Aegean I went to Bodrum, Marmaris, I attend to a diving club there, Pamukkale, Ephesus and Çeşme. Then I had another trip to Black Sea coast like Trabzon, Rize and Ordu. Also, I went to Northern Cyprus.
What are the things that you like the most in Turkey as an Erasmus student?
Actually, the best thing of being here is living on the street and making new friends. I live in Kadıköy and I have lots of friends from Erasmus here.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of Istanbul?
For advantages, the social life and nightlife are active. I enjoy that a lot. But the major disadvantage is the traffic. It takes me at least one hour to go to the school or anywhere really.
What are the difficulties you encountered and the happy moments you experienced during the program? Can you tell us a memorable moment you went through?
For the difficulties, I had some problems at the beginning with the organization and bureaucracy. They didn’t even know me before my coming because my medical Erasmus coordinator forgot to tell to International Office about me. Also I still have some problems at the end, I was given the time as a normal student, but I may have some problems for travelling around. I don’t want to attend them again because it will take a lot of money and the bureaucracy again. It’s annoying.
For the most happy moments, there is a picture of the Lycian way that I like and my Erasmus friends who I meet in Turkey.
How did Erasmus in Turkey change your life?
It definitely opened my point of view for Near and Middle East. There were so many classmate from Arabic countries like Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Libya and Turkey. Now I feel more open to these countries and their cultures.
Did the Erasmus Program meet your expectations, why do you think so?
I didn’t have so big expectation from the Erasmus. Actually, I don’t think about anything too much in my life. If there is a vacation or travelling abroad I just go and enjoy there. After the 6 months in Turkey, I have so many friends and happy moments with them. At the end, I’m very happy to being here now.
Do you have any recommendation for those who are planning to attend Erasmus in Turkey?
In general, don’t be afraid; just go out and try to enjoy the life and the time in here. If you can do that you will have a good time.
Tell us why the others should choose Erasmus in Turkey!
Because living in here so fascinating and unique.
Please complete the sentence: I love Erasmus in Turkey because it is fascinating and enriching experience.