Istanbul University

Istanbul University (İstanbul Üniversitesi) is the oldest and one of the most prominent universities in Turkey, having been established in 1453 first as a Medrese (Islamic theological school) and later converted into a modern university. The university has over 175,000 students enrolled in 22 faculties and vocational schools. Istanbul University has a total of 12 campuses in neighborhoods such as Beyazıt, Laleli-Vezneciler, Vefa, Horhor, Avcılar, Çapa, Cerrahpasa, Şişli, Kadıkoy, Bahçeköy, Bakirköy and Büyükçekmece. However the majority of the graduate and undergraduate programs are conducted on the Beyazıt and Avcılar campuses. Istanbul University has a very mixed and diverse culture. Even though most of the students are Turkish, each class is made of at least 10% international students. Most of them come from Turkish speaking countries in the Asian region. What is interesting about Istanbul University is that each faculty has its own ideological views. For example, the students at the Faculty of Law are known for their rebellious attitude and Marxist-Leninist views, therefore it is quite common to see them protesting for different causes on Beyazıt campus. Other faculties differ by having more conservative or liberal cultures. There is always a bus of policemen standing on the main street of the campus, which stays there mostly as a result of past incidents involving student protests. Yet, in general the atmosphere on campus is pretty relaxed and everybody is laid back, as most of the students are quite accustomed to these events. The language of instruction at IU is Turkish, but there are some departments that have 30% of classes in English. There are some that are fully in English such as English Economics. For English courses, you don’t have to have TOEFL/ IELTS certification, as the university has its own assessment exam. Most of the students and administrative staff have little knowledge of English, therefore it is useful to know at least the basics of Turkish in order to get along better.