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Number of international students increasing in Turkish universities
1.       tunci
7149 posts
 18 Mar 2012 Sun 05:41 pm

Number of international students increasing in Turkish universities

18 March 2012 / İPEK ÜZÜM , İSTANBUL



A growing number of international students from various countries have chosen Turkey as a destination for higher education in recent years.

The number of international students studying in Turkish universities has increased dramatically over the past five years. According to data from the country’s Student Selection and Placement Center (ÖSYM), the number of international students studying in Turkish universities was 15,481 in the 2005/06 academic year, in addition to 578 international students who were studying in other educational institutions. In the 2008/09 academic year, there were 18,158 international students studying in universities and 562 students in other educational institutions in Turkey. In the 2009/10 academic year, these numbers increased to 21,361 and 587, respectively. The number of international students was 26,228 in Turkey, with 683 studying in other educational institutions besides universities, in the 2010/11 academic year.

One of the reasons that the number of international students has been increasing with each passing year -- according to Associate Professor Savaş Genç, an academic at the department of international relations of İstanbul-based Fatih University who spoke to Sunday’s Zaman -- is the snowball effect, caused by former international students who were satisfied with their educational experiences in Turkey. Hearing about Turkey and Turkish educational facilities from students who previously studied in Turkey leads to more students choosing the country for their higher education.

Genç added: “Another major reason behind the increase is the recent attempts of Turkish private universities to attract more foreign students to their institutions. Because state universities recently increased their quotas for international students, private universities had some difficulties finding foreign students. This, in turn, has led Turkish private universities to start to promote themselves abroad by attending international education fairs or discounting their tuition fees. This contributes to the increase in the number of international students in Turkey to some degree.”

Genç stated that most of the international students at Fatih University come from the Balkans, Africa and the Middle East.

The general director of Edufairs Recruitment Tour Turkey and chairman of the Turkish Educational Agents Group (TEAG), Özdemir İçin, told Sunday’s Zaman that the main reasons behind the recent increase in the number of international students in Turkey are the recent growth in the Turkish economy, an improvement in living conditions and the recent success of Turkish foreign policy. İçin also added the hospitality and philanthropy in Turkey might be another reason contributing to the high number of international students.

İçin also put forward that international Muslim students began heading to Turkey after the 9/11 attacks, reasoning that an increasing number of students from Muslim countries have chosen Turkey as a destination for higher education due to fears over Islamophobia, which has increased since the terrorist attacks carried out by al-Qaeda.

He said that because prejudice, discrimination and hatred towards Islam became prevalent in some parts of Europe and especially the US following the attacks, prospective Muslim students wishing to study abroad increasingly chose Islamic countries. “Turkey’s recent encouragement of the Arab Spring and increasing importance as an example of a predominantly Muslim democratic country have also contributed to the increase in the number of Muslim students in the country,” İçin noted.

According to the same ÖSYM data, the number of students from predominantly Muslim countries was over 11,000 in the 2000/01 academic year, before the attacks took place, while the number increased to over 18,000 in the 2010/11 academic year, 10 years after the attacks.

The chairman of the Foreign Economic Relations Board’s (DEİK) Business Education Council, Dr. Mustafa Aydın, told Sunday’s Zaman that the number of international students studying in Turkish universities has increased in recent years, with around 30,000 foreign nationals currently studying in Turkey.

Aydın indicated the council aims to raise this number to 100,000 by 2015, which is expected to contribute an extra $4 billion to Turkey’s economy. Noting that Turkish universities, primarily private ones, have started to promote themselves abroad, Aydın said that previously only a few Turkish universities had attended international education fairs in order to recruit foreign students. The situation is changing, however. As a result of efforts by DEİK’s Business Education Council, which was established last year, more Turkish universities are starting to attend education fairs. According to Aydın, an increase in the number of students coming to Turkey to study is expected thanks to these initiatives.

Elaborating on the activities directed at international students at their university, Genç stated that Fatih University organizes events to promote cultural dialogue between international and Turkish students at the university. The first is a cultural feast called “Seven Continents and Seven Colors,” at which international students set up tables to introduce their cultures. “Another contribution of the university to promote cultural interaction is the ‘Be My Guest’ project, which sees Turkish families host international students at their homes on religious holidays -- Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha -- to ensure international students do not feel lonely on these days because almost all Turkish students at the university go home to celebrate with their families. In this project, volunteer Turkish students take an international student home with them,” Genç noted.

Genç further noted that organizing such activities increases the satisfaction of international students with the school, which may lead to an even greater interest in Turkish educational institutions in the long run.

An international student studying at Fatih University, Elaicha Grace Ayika, told Sunday’s Zaman that she chose Turkey because the country has a tremendous history and cultural heritage. She added that while studying at a Turkish college in her home country, she saw how Turks were warm, and that was what influenced her the most when making her decision.

Another international student at Fatih University, Warda Muhaydin, said she chose Turkey for two reasons: first because Turkey is a Muslim country, and second because Turkey has prestigious educational facilities.

Sajid T. Musa, another student, said that at first he really wanted to study in his own country, but after he had an opportunity to visit Turkey, he learned a lot about the country and changed his mind. Musa added that in addition to his experience visiting Turkey, his friends told him a lot of good things about the country. This encouraged him to make up his mind and he made his final decision with the guidance of his parents

lemon liked this message
2.       acute
202 posts
 18 Mar 2012 Sun 08:57 pm

that is amazing but why do so many Turks try to finish their studies in either UK, USA, Au  ?

Edited (3/18/2012) by acute

3.       stumpy
638 posts
 19 Mar 2012 Mon 02:35 am

to perfect their English

4.       Abla
3647 posts
 19 Mar 2012 Mon 12:46 pm

In the course of any academic studies a period abroad is very much appreciated. I proudly tell you that I have made a part of my studies in the Soviet Union. The country was collapsing but they were such great days.

Faily, acute and lemon liked this message
5.       acute
202 posts
 19 Mar 2012 Mon 04:30 pm

I agree Abla the main reasons to go somewhere else is to get a heads up and learn new culture, new life experiences. To see how the world operates instead of reading about it.


  • Education acquired abroad is viewed as prestigious giving students an edge over their fellow colleagues in the domestic job market and can ensure a better starting position and salary when applying for jobs in Turkey
  • To gain valuable life experience and expand their worldview

6.       Faily
22 posts
 19 Mar 2012 Mon 05:41 pm


Quoting Abla

In the course of any academic studies a period abroad is very much appreciated. I proudly tell you that I have made a part of my studies in the Soviet Union. The country was collapsing but they were such great days.

 Let´s party!


7.       Elisabeth
5732 posts
 23 Mar 2012 Fri 02:25 am

Posts in this thread have been deleted due to personal attacks.  This thread will be locked if it continues.  

Thank you for your cooperation.


Edited (3/23/2012) by Elisabeth

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