Being an Erasmus in Istanbul

Killian Rolf (Bremen, Germany) I spend two semesters via Erasmus at Yeditepe University as a law student. My experiences have been completely positive. The courses offered in English in the Law Faculty are covering a broad spectrum of law topics, and the possibility for Erasmus students to follow the Master classes as undergratuate students offered me courses which are as such not offered at my home university. Apart from the classroom I have participated in the University's American Football Team and the VIS Moot Court Competition Team and found a lot of good friends. Thanks to this I was able to get a direct impression of the local students, their traditions, their way of life and so on. If I would have not done this, I guess I would have missed out on most of my great memories of my time being here, cause the step of getting to know the local students just by taking the same classes is nearly impossible. Hence my philosophy of a succesful exchange is not spending my whole time in a foreign country with other foreigners, the activities and interactions with local students outside the class room was a perfect way for me to learn more about the culture and the people of this wonderful city. Istanbul itself is a fantastic place to be, and if one follows the basic rules of a metropolitan lifestyle, one will never find him or herself in any sort of trouble he or she could not run into at home. The beauty of this city causes addiction and I have to say that I never, not for one second, regreted coming here. And because of the never ending opportunities of things to do for all sorts of interests, this city never gets boring, but there is rather something new to discover every day! Kilian Rolf Petra Trkov Report of my Erasmus experience I'm a law student from University of Ljubljana and I spent the first semester of academic year 2009/2010 as an Erasmus exchange student at Yeditepe University in Istanbul. One of the things that attracted me most when I was applying, was the broad variety of courses I could choose from. I could take both, undergraduate and graduate courses, and also courses from other departments. The progressive approach of the University was seen at lessons, where the theoretical aspect of subject matter was presented simultaneously with its practical application in current affairs. The lectures were interactive and the atmosphere was intellectually stimulating. Students were also encouraged to participate in international conferences and many extra curriculum activities organised by the University. When we needed some information or help with managing something, we could turn to staff of the international office, where they were highly attentive in solving our problems. We were also introduced to Turkish students, who were kindly showing us around the city and helping us with errands, such as opening a bank account or obtaining a monthly students' bus ticket. They organised many different activities, trips, and social events. There is a great variety of facilities on campus. Sports facilities include swimming pools, gym, tennis courts, etc. You can also find restaurants and cafeterias. All of this, combined with the beautiful green surroundings, make it practically impossible not to enjoy the time between or after classes. Therefore some students decide to reside in the dormitory. Although the idea of living on campus seemed appealing to me, I decided to rent a room elsewhere. Despite the language difficulties, finding a room wasn't difficult at all. It so happened that I found one in Kadikoy and soon I realised, that it was the best place to live. Due to its relative proximity to Marmara and Yeditepe universities and excellent traffic connections, to universities and the European side of the city, it is full of students. This charming neighbourhood has a lot of small restaurants, shops, cafes, theatres, and even opera. Nevertheless, its best feature is definitely the seashore, which is like an oasis in sometimes overwhelming city. Istanbul, being home to at least three civilisation, is a magnificent museum by itself. It is impossible to get tired of it or to be bored. You can visit one of many museums or art galleries with exceptional collections or just stroll through the streets. In the evening you can find live music everywhere – in clubs, restaurants, bars, on the streets; therefore, it's sometimes hard to decide where to go. However, the hallmark of Istanbul are its people, friendly, generous, and always willing to help. It is hard for me to put in words what I've gained from my Erasmus experience. Surely a fair amount of knowledge, a different view on European society, a lot of new friends, and an opportunity to live in Asia and to go to Europe just for a glass of tea. I would encourage anybody, who is thinking about becoming an exchange student in Istanbul, to do it, because it's a truly wonderful adventure. Marina Murinova Choosing Istanbul and Yeditepe University for my Erasmus exchange the best decision I could ever make! Despite the culture shock during the first days like NO possible usage of my English anywhere and let’s say social habits of people on the streets:)) I fell in love with this place soon after my arrival. I came on 27th January to give myself a time to adjust to the place and “look around” before the school starts which turned out to be a good decision again, because I could know my flatmates better and as they were studying at Yeditepe since September I was lucky to get a benefit of their previous experiences and useful advice as well as exploring the close and distant “neighbourhood” together. That brings me to the question why I chose to live in flatshare and not in Yeditepe dorms. Well, being an Erasmus student means for me also some kind of desire to merge or live up in the real people’s environment and in my case - to live the way the Turkish people do in their everyday lives what is actually one of the goals of an Erasmus LLP. In addition, I prefer more personal freedom which could be in some ways a little bit limited when living in student dormitories. My house is in Bagdat Caddesi (Bagdat Street) in Feneryolu in Kadikoy District and this place provides me everything I need even more and it became my second home alreadyJ All shops, local markets, the seaside nearby and what is most important, the good transport connections to school and all parts of Istanbul in both European and Anatolian side provided by taxis, dolmuşes (small yellow vans which drive you fastly and cheaply everywhere and stop on your request), of course buses and metrobuses. Schoolwise, the course of education at Yeditepe is really student-focused, from the first days I was surrounded by helpful people as well as members of teachers’ board and most importantly the willingness and effort of Incoming office which helped us with every single problem that occurred. Every year, Yeditepe University accepts students from many countries from various universities, study programmes and majors who want to combine the courses as effectively as possible thus it requires big effort to make everyone satisfied and in this point I have to say Incoming office is doing an amazing job and making our stay smooth and enjoyable. I was also pleased by the choice of the courses in my department, it was really wide and comprised many fields of my major even those which I wouldn’t have a chance to get in my university. Classes are held by both Turkish and foreign teachers, sometimes the former make short “excursions” into Turkish language, but it may be another way to improve your TurkishJ Yes, we also do have lessons of Turkish language provided by the university and taught by a very nice and enthusiastic teacher, so I would highly recommend to enroll on them because it’s really necessary for a daily basic communication to get by. As for facilities, the university is well- equipped and provides several canteens, cafes, sport facilities (even the pool tables!:) and also library with all necessary books and free internet access. What I also appreciate is a good system of providing the study materials by teachers. There is a copyshop outside the university and in case a teacher requires an some materials or extra papers to print out related to a certain topic, they are simply sent there and we just give a reference number, so we don’t have to struggle with searching for material and re-copying from “friend’s friends”. Finally, the students environment is very welcoming and vivid, there are several types of students activities where we can involve ourselves as well as their friendly attitude. I hope my rest of the stay will bring me more and more blast! Marina Murinova Slovakia Comenius University in Bratislava Law Department


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