Life in Turkey
As a student in Turkey, you’ll witness a modern country rich in heritage and tradition. According to Turkish tradition, a stranger at one’s doorstep is considered a guest from God. As a student in Turkey, you will often experience the cordial hospitality which is common here. This attitude does not only attract students but many tourists as well. The beautiful beaches on the Mediterranean and Aegean coasts are especially popular among visitors and students.
Turkey’s currency is the Turkish Lira (TRY). However, if you’ll be living in a tourist area, you may even find shops and restaurants which also accept foreign currency. Also, you can find plenty of exchange offices around the tourist areas.
* We suggest not to change a lot of currency at the airport since they charge an extra service fee compare to others in the city center.
Turkey is a democratic and secular country and part of the European Customs Union, a candidate country for accession to the European Union.
Saturday and Sundays are the weekends even though most people work on Saturdays as well.
Turkish women were among the first in Europe to achieve the right to vote and run for elected office through a constitutional amendment. (1930)
Cost of Living
Turkey was revealed to be Europe’s second most affordable country to live and 102nd cheapest of 132 countries worldwide. Many people who receive a pension from their home country are enjoying a luxurious lifestyle thanks to an excellent exchange rate between the Turkish lira and other currencies like the pound, euro and American dollar.
The most significant expense, wherever you live in Turkey is rent. On the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, expect to pay between 1.000 TL to 2.000 TL a month for a basic two-bedroom apartment. Istanbul, the hub of everything, and anything in Turkey, and a basic studio apartment on the outskirts of the city can cost as much as 1.500 TL, with prices naturally rising for homes nearer the center. Rent a flat in Taksim or other significant districts and rates can be as much as 4.000 TL a month.
Eating and Transportation : A budget or fast food meal is 25 TL, leading up to 100 TL if you visit middle-class restaurants. If you plan to live in Istanbul, transportation is a major cost, and using public services will set you back roughly 275 TL a month. But student monthly transportaion card is just 50 TL for a month. Otherwise, the price of petrol hoovers around the 7-lira mark, and vehicle owners should also set aside approximately 5.000 TL a year for maintenance, insurance, and MOTs.
Food Shopping: Single people or couples on a budget can save a lot of money in this area. Using local markets instead of the leading supermarkets for fruit, veg, and dairy products is cheaper, averaging in at roughly 100 TL a week for a good selection of products. At present, lamb and beef are expensive in Turkey averaging between 60 to 80 TL a kilogram. Turkey’s most widely-eaten meat is chicken, which is around 20 to 25 TL for a kilogram.
The Turkish Healthcare System
Healthcare in Turkey is part of the country’s social security system. You will find that with one single contribution, you are covered in case of illness, accident or retirement. All these insurances are organized by the same institution.
The SGK (Social Security Institution) and the Ministry of Health sometimes run their own medical establishments. You will have to visit these in case of an accident or illness. Only if those facilities do not provide sufficient services can patients living in Turkey be transferred to other hospitals or clinics.
Also, you have a chance to get private health insurance and visit private hospitals. They have modern facilities and really high-tech equipment.
The Turkish healthcare system has improved significantly in recent years. Hospitals, clinics, and practices offer many facilities and types of treatments.Health tourism is also great income for the Turkish economy.
The Transportation System
There is a huge public transport system in Turkey such as local buses, taxis, minibusses, tram, and metro. Your choice of transport will depend on how quickly you want to get from A to B.
Local Buses: All towns and cities have plentiful local buses which are cheap to use. You can purchase a smart ticket for a small deposit which, once loaded with credit, can be used not only on the buses but the metro, tram, and ferries.
Minibusses (Dolmus): Minibuses are useful alternatives to local buses and run on standard routes posted on the front screen of the vehicle.
Taxis: Taxis are plentiful and the best board at designated taxi stops. Payment is according to the onboard meter. All taxis in Turkey are required by law to have an onboard meter. Also, you can use the apps in which you can add your credit card, and no need to worry about payment and route. ( Bitaksi or itaksi )
Metro: Turkey’s metro system of underground and surface rapid transit trains is growing quickly. Major cities of Turkey now have underground metros. You need to buy a smart ticket to travel by metro.
Tram: Several cities also have overground trams, which are a quick and efficient way of getting around.
* Religious holidays
Ramazan Bayrami is a three-day festival celebrating the end of the fast of Ramadan month. Also known as “Seker (sweets) Bayrami” since it’s customary to offer candies to family members and friends that are visiting.
Kurban Bayrami is a four-day festival when sacrificial sheep are slaughtered and their meat distributed to the poor.
* National holidays
- Jan 1: New Year’s Day
- Apr 23: National Sovereignty and Children’s Day (anniversary of the establishment of Turkish Grand National Assembly)
- May 1: Labour and Solidarity Day
- May 19: Atatürk Commemoration and Youth & Sports Day
- Aug 30: Victory Day (victory over invading forces in 1922).
- October 6: Liberation of Istanbul (celebrated only in Istanbul)
- Oct 29: Republic Day (anniversary of the declaration of the Turkish Republic)
Turkey has in total 81 cities:
Adana, Adiyaman, Afyonkarahisar, Agri, Aksaray, Amasya, Ankara, Antalya, Ardahan, Artvin, Aydin, Balikesir, Bartin, Batman, Bayburt, Bilecik, Bingol, Bitlis, Bolu, Burdur, Bursa, Canakkale, Cankiri, Corum, Denizli, Diyarbakir, Duzce, Edirne, Elazig, Erzincan, Erzurum, Eskisehir, Gaziantep, Giresun, Gumushane, Hakkari, Hatay, Icel (Mersin), Igdir, Isparta, Istanbul, Izmir, Kahramanmaras, Karabuk, Karaman, Kars, Kastamonu, Kayseri, Kilis, Kirikkale, Kirklareli, Kirsehir, Kocaeli, Konya, Kutahya, Malatya, Manisa, Mardin, Mugla, Mus, Nevsehir, Nigde, Ordu, Osmaniye, Rize, Sakarya, Samsun, Sanliurfa, Siirt, Sinop, Sirnak, Sivas, Tekirdag, Tokat, Trabzon, Tunceli, Usak, Van, Yalova, Yozgat, Zonguldak