Boğaziçi University - A Second Home for Students from Other Countries (December 26, 2016)

Every year Boğaziçi University hosts hundreds of students from universities in Europe, Americas, Australia and the Far East through exchange programs. The University has signed 1235 partnership agreements with leading universities in 38 countries, and is becoming a global university in terms of its foreign student profile.  Students from different countries say that they wanted to come to Turkey because they wanted to see the country and have firsthand experience of living in Turkey; they are happy with the choice they have made.

Exchange students, an inseparable part of the colorful mosaic of the University, state their reasons for selecting Boğaziçi University as the diversity of its student clubs, the cohesive atmosphere in the university, and the university’s tradition of freedom and respect for different cultures.

Johannes Breitsamter, an Erasmus student from FOS-BOS Munich Technical University in Germany, is studying at the Department of Mathematics at Boğaziçi University.  Breitsamter finds campus life in Boğaziçi University very lively in comparison with a German university.  “I could say that universities in Germany can be defined as places where you just go to classes,” he explains.  “BU offers a lot more than classes:  there is a colorful social life and I am happy to be a part of it.”  He underlines that BU is a European university in all aspects, from the quality of education to the diversity of student activities.

Xuejie Guo and Chao Gao from Shanghai University are studying at the Department of History.  They say that Turkey is unique in terms of its location, which is one of the reasons they decided to come to Istanbul.  In addition to taking classes, they both work at Confucius Institute at BU and are also learning Turkish.  These two students from China say that they aim to fully benefit from the exchange program and learn as much as they can about Turkey.  In addition to participating in the Erasmus/Exchange groups which have been established to increase interaction among them, they are also active at several BU student clubs including the Dance, Mountaineering and Gastronomy Clubs.

We wanted to see and experience Turkey

In addition to their experiences at Boğaziçi University, the exchange students also discuss the extent to which they are affected by Turkey’s current agenda.  In their opinion, the warnings issued in Western countries on security problems in Turkey have not hindered them from coming to Turkey.  Many were hesitant during the application process, but that changed once they arrived in the country.

French student Louis Dubost decided to come to Turkey through the Erasmus Program and spend the last year of his education at the Department of Management of Boğaziçi University. Dubost says that European televisions present Turkey as a dangerous country to visit, which he finds rather exaggerated. “I wanted to see Turkey myself,” he says.  “Such news increased my curiosity about the country rather than change my mind.  I know very well that not every picture reflected on the TV screen reflects the whole truth; I wanted to see the reality for myself.  I think firsthand experience is the best way to find the truth.”

Magdalini Timow came to Boğaziçi University from Aristotle University in Greece.  Despite the proximity of the two countries, the image of Turkey presented in a country so close was far from being realistic. At first she had doubts about her decision to come to Turkey.  “But I am glad I did not change my mind,” she says. “This is an experience way beyond my expectations.”

Melisa Kumaşçı is a Danish student of Turkish origin, from the University of Copenhagen. She decided to spend one academic year at BU.  Unlike other students, Melisa did not have any fears about security in Turkey when she applied to the program.  She says, “My family and friends in Denmark kept saying that there were frequent bomb attacks in Turkey, and that it would be an insecure place, especially for a woman.  But I have come to Turkey several times before; this is not my first visit.  I know the people; I know it is not like it is perceived from afar.  This is my second home.”

The students seem determined not to limit their experiences with campus life; they go on tours to understand and witness Turkish history and culture; they have also visited other cities in Turkey and say that they will continue to do so.

News: Gökçe Bayrak - Talat Karataş (Office of Corporate Communications)

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