During CIEE’s Arts and Sciences program in Istanbul, you’ll spend a semester gaining a profound understanding of a country rapidly urbanizing and transforming. Through studies at one of the country’s most prestigious private universities, volunteering, excursions, and cultural activities – including checking out the Grand Bazaar, a huge covered market in operation since 1461 – you’ll explore Turkey’s fascinating history, traditions, and people as an insider.
Study abroad in Istanbul and you'll:
- Experience Turkey’s rich history and traditions in the context of globalization and rapid social transformation
- Study Turkish, a language spoken by 75 million people from the Balkans to central Asia
- Enjoy cultural activities with peer mentors – from cooking workshops to Turkish film nights
- Engage in discussion sessions and guest lectures, and visit NGOs and cultural sites to gain different perspectives on social issues in Turkey
- Explore the cultural and geographic diversity of Turkey through excursions to various regions of the country
Scholarships & Grants
Scholarships & Grants
We want as many students as possible to benefit from studying abroad. That’s why CIEE awards more than $5 million every year – more than any other international educational organization – to make study abroad affordable.
Applicants to this program are eligible for the following scholarships and grants:
To be considered, submit the CIEE Scholarships & Grants application within your CIEE program application. Learn more at the Scholarships & Grants section of our website.
The CIEE Difference
The CIEE Difference
In addition to an introductory Turkish language course, you can enroll in a variety of courses with a regional focus in subjects including archaeology, history, art, philosophy, and international relations. Courses also are available in the humanities, business, sciences, and engineering.
Experience the diversity of Turkey’s geography, history, and cultures during excursions throughout the country. Excursions vary from semester to semester, but always include visits to historical sites with experts, opportunities for community engagement with local NGOs, and experiences of traditional arts, food, and culture. Possibilities include meeting with Mevlevi followers in a Sufi lodge in Konya to watch a whirling dervish ceremony; exploring the remains of important ancient and medieval cities, such as Pergamon and Ani; watching the Karagöz and Hacivat shadow puppet plays in Bursa, and sharing a traditional meal with a local family. You’ll also enjoy a daylong retreat at the end of the semester that will give you the opportunity to reflect on your experiences in Turkey and prepare you for your return to the United States. No matter where we go, you’ll experience Turkey with all your senses and explore places you could not easily access on your own.
In consultation with CIEE staff, you may take part in noncredit community service/volunteer opportunities. Students may volunteer to teach English or facilitate social activities for young refugee and/or asylum seekers at a local NGO, teach English to local schoolchildren or nursing students, or get involved with one of the many volunteering projects run by student clubs at the university. No matter where you choose to volunteer, you’ll make a real difference in the lives of others and learn a little bit about yourself in the process.
Get to know Turkey by taking part in programs and activities designed to help you integrate into the local and university communities. Give back to your host community by teaching English to refugees or local schoolchildren. Join a student club with your peers. Take in a movie night or cooking class. We’ll help you make new friends and experience the city from a local’s perspective.
Dates, Deadlines & Fees
Dates, Deadlines & Fees
We want to make sure you get the most out of your experience when you study abroad with CIEE, which is why we offer the most inclusions in our fees.
The program fee includes:
- Tuition and housing
- Pre-departure advising and optional on-site airport meet and greet
- Full-time program leadership and support
- Field trips and cultural activities
- Istanbul public transportation card and museum card
- CIEE iNext travel card which provides insurance and other travel benefits
Please note, program dates are subject to change. Please contact your CIEE Study Abroad Advisor before purchasing airfare. Click the
button to view more detailed information about dates and fees as well as estimated additional costs. Please talk with your University Study Abroad Advisor about additional fees that may be charged by your home institution when participating in a program abroad.
Fall 2017 (18 wks)
Program Date Notes
Dates for this program are provided as tentative dates. Please consult with your study abroad advisor to confirm dates before purchasing your flights.
In addition to the items outlined below, the CIEE program fee includes an optional on-site airport meet and greet, full-time leadership and support, orientation, local government registration fees, cultural activities, local excursions, pre-departure advising, and a CIEE iNext travel card which provides insurance and other travel benefits.
Participation Confirmation *
Educational Costs **
This breakdown has been prepared from the program budget for the purpose of calculating eligibility for financial aid. During the course of program operations, actual figures may vary. It should not, therefore, be used as a basis for calculation of refunds. CIEE reserves the right to adjust fees at any time.
Students required to study on CIEE programs through a School of Record will be charged a $500 administrative fee in addition to the Program Fees listed.
** direct cost of education charged uniformly to all students
*** A limited number of homestays are available each semester. The homestay option includes two meals daily.
Estimated Additional Costs
Meals not included in program fee *
International Airfare **
The estimated additional costs indicated are intended to assist students and parents in budgeting for those additional living and discretionary expenses not included in the program fee. Actual expenses will vary according to student interests and spending habits.
* for students in apartments; students in homestays need to budget $900 for lunches
** round-trip based on U.S. East Coast departure
*** onsite Residence Permit and insurance; typically approximately $200 of this fee is reimbursed at the end of the semester for single semester semester participants
Total recommended credit for the semester is 15-18 semester/22.5-27 quarter hours and for the academic year, 30-36 semester/45-54 quarter hours.
Course contact hours are 45 hours and recommended credit is 3 semester/4.5 quarter hours per course, unless otherwise indicated.
Students may enroll in the CIEE Intercultural Communication and Leadership course in lieu of one Koç University course. Students are required to direct enroll in five 3-credit courses.
About the City
About The City
One of the largest cities in the world, Istanbul is where Europe and Asia literally meet. The wide Bosphorous Straight cuts the city in half and is also the defining waterway separating the Asian and European continents. Arab, Latin, Persian, and Asian cultures have intermingled for more than 3,000 years at this key stop along the ancient Silk Road. Once the seat of both the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires, today it is the largest city in Turkey with a population of more than 14 million, and is transforming rapidly under the forces of migration, urbanization, and globalization. The CIEE Study Center at Koç University provides study abroad students many opportunities to experience how the influences of the past, present, and possible futures have and continue to shape the physical and cultural landscapes of Turkey.
Meet The Staff
Meet The Staff
Originally from California, Kathryn Bourgeois has been a resident of Turkey since 1997. She comes to CIEE with many years of experience in the study abroad field and is particularly adept with issues surrounding intercultural communication. Kathryn has served in study abroad capacities with Pitzer and Scripps Colleges in the United States. and in Turkey. Kathryn holds a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Scripps College, has completed graduate work in sociology at Middle East Technical University in Ankara, and is a certified teacher of English as a foreign language (CTEFL).
Your hands are warmed by endless cups of çay; your ears become attuned to the sounds of the call to prayer, arabesk, and pop alaturca; your feet get used to walking on marble ruins, ancient pathways, and the uneven and crowded pavement of city streets; your mouth becomes accustomed to the phrase ‘Inshallah’ and the sweet taste of baklava; your eyes are delighted by the striking variety and beauty of the country
and its historical and cultural sites; your mind is challenged by the contradictions experienced in your daily encounters with Turkish people and society.
Istanbul is a microcosm of Turkey, reflecting the diversity and complexity of the nation’s ethnic, religious, and cultural identities. The forces of rapid urbanization, gentrification, and globalization are clearly visible in the city’s public spaces and in the lifestyles of its inhabitants. From its skyline dominated by the minarets of the Blue Mosque, the dome of Haghia Sophia, and modern skyscrapers, to the synthesis of
Middle Eastern and Western motifs in the music and clothing sold on the city’s famed Istiklal Caddesi, Istanbul offers a feast for the senses and the opportunity to explore a nation trying to balance tradition with modernity in an age of rapid social transformation.
— Kathryn Bourgeois, Resident Director
Originally from Antalya, Turkey, Pınar has an M.A. in Visual Arts and Communication Design from Sabanci University in Istanbul and is a Ph.D candidate in Media Studies at Bahçeşehir University in Istanbul. Her research interests include contemporary video practices in Turkey and critical theory.
A native of Istanbul, Koray Unur has been with CIEE since 2010. Koray holds a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in cultural studies from Bilgi University. His research interest centers on the construction and representation of history in photography.
Where You'll Study
Where You'll Study
Founded in 1993, Koç University is a private university located on a beautiful hillside campus overlooking the Black Sea, near the Sariyer district of Istanbul and approximately one hour from the central part of the city. A liberal arts university, courses are taught in English, and most faculty members received their graduate degrees from universities in North America and Western Europe. The campus includes facilities consistent with those found on U.S. campuses, and there is a vibrant student campus life offering numerous clubs and special activities.
Housing & Meals
Housing & Meals
Participants live in residence halls on the Koç University campus. Study abroad students typically share a double room with a Turkish roommate. The residence halls are close to all campus buildings and include free laundry and kitchen facilities. Meals are not included in the program fee and are the responsibility of the student. Students can prepare their meals in the residence hall or eat at campus or neighborhood restaurants and cafés. The university has its own small grocery store and several restaurants and cafés, some open 24 hours.
A limited number of homestays are available each semester to students. All homestays are carefully recruited and screened by CIEE staff. Host families provide two meals daily, and a private room. Students should contact CIEE at the time of application to learn more about the homestay option.
You'll begin your study abroad experience in Istanbul even before leaving home by participating in a CIEE online predeparture orientation. The resident director meets with students online and shares information about the program and site, highlighting issues that alumni have said are important, and giving you time to ask questions. The online orientation allows you to connect with others in the group, reflect on what you want to get out of the program, and learn what others in the group would like to accomplish. CIEE’s aim for the predeparture orientation is simple: to help you understand more about the program and identify your goals.
The mandatory weeklong on-site orientation program introduces you to the country, culture, language, and academic program, as well as provides practical information about living in Turkey. The orientation includes a Koç University international student orientation, as well as specially designed CIEE activities, city tours, and discussions designed to help you adjust to life in Istanbul. Ongoing support is provided on an individual and group basis throughout the program.
You're encouraged to bring a wireless-enabled laptop. You'll have access to the Internet throughout the Koç University campus, including all residence halls and academic buildings. You'll also be able to use the university computer labs. Students are assigned a Koç University email address upon arrival.
Visits to NGOs and places of historical and cultural interest are a regular part of the study abroad program. Local field trips include visits to the main Byzantine and Ottoman monuments in the Sultanahmet district, including Haghia Sophia, Hippodrome, Blue Mosque, and Topkapi Palace. Visits to community centers, art centers and museums, research centers, and NGOs enable you to develop different perspectives on various elements of Turkish society. Participation in both local and international music, art, film, dance, and theater festivals is also part of the program each semester.
Two CIEE weekend excursions provide you the opportunity to explore and compare the varied regions of Turkey. Excursions typically include a visit to a local NGO, a volunteering or cultural activity, and guided walking tours of historical and cultural sites. Past excursions have included Ankara, Çanakkale, Konya, Kars, Trabzon, and Gaziantep.
Throughout the semester, you can be reimbursed for cultural activities such as concerts, films, football games, or a Turkish bath through the program's Cultural Interaction Fund.
End of Semester CIEE Program Retreat
This daylong retreat facilitates reflection on your experiences in Turkey, prepares you for your return to the United States, and sets the foundation to build on your new perspectives and knowledge. The retreat typically is held off-campus and includes group meals, activities, and discussions, as well as the chance to relax.
There are a variety of student clubs that organize both on- and off-campus events and volunteer opportunities on a regular basis.
Get to know Turkey from your peers! From the moment you arrive, Koç student mentors will help you settle into life in Istanbul and on campus. Throughout the program, mentors also will arrange weekly social and cultural activities – Turkish movie nights, trips to local festivals and exhibits, cooking workshops – to help you make new friends and experience the city from a local’s perspective.
Established in the fall of 2009, the CIEE Study Center at Koç University provides a rigorous academic study abroad program through direct enrollment in Koç University language and area studies courses. In addition to Turkish language courses, students select from regular Koç University courses in arts, social sciences, humanities, natural and physical sciences, business, and engineering.
All Koç University courses are taught in English and combine lecture and discussion formats. Class size tends to be small, allowing for maximum interaction between students and faculty. Some introductory level courses combine large weekly lectures with smaller discussion sections. The Turkish language courses are small and include practice sessions with peer tutors for optimal language acquisition. Most courses meet three to four hours a week. Study abroad students may take any course offered as long as they have completed the necessary prerequisites and received permission from the instructor.
Nature of Classes
Participants take Turkish language alongside other CIEE and international students at Koç University. For all other classes, participants directly enroll in host University courses and take classes with Turkish and other international students.
CIEE Community Language Commitment
As students gain proficiency in Turkish, resident staff members encourage them to use their language skills in everyday settings. This fosters language proficiency and greater understanding of Turkish society.
As the Koç University curriculum was initially based on a U.S. academic model, the grading scale follows an American model of letter grades A-F, with pluses and minuses, based on a scale of 100. Courses include mid-term and final exams and, depending on the course, additional assignments such as a research paper or class presentation. Attendance and class participation also are incorporated into the final grade for the program courses.
Language of Instruction
Turkish (Turkish course only)
All courses are taught by faculty from Koç University, unless otherwise indicated.
Note: This course listing is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a contract between CIEE and any applicant, student, institution, or other party. The courses, as described, may be subject to change as a result of ongoing curricular revisions, assignment of lecturers and teaching staff, and program development. Courses may be canceled due to insufficient enrollment.
CIEE Study Center Syllabi
To view the most recent syllabi for courses taught by CIEE at our Study Centers, visit our syllabi site.
COMM 3301 ISTA
Intercultural Communication and Leadership in Istanbul
In this class, participants will develop skills, knowledge, and understanding that will help them communicate and engage more appropriately and effectively in Istanbul as well as in other intercultural contexts. Students will explore various topics in intercultural communication in the context of their experience abroad, and will practice intercultural learning processes that they can apply when working across difference in a wide variety of contexts. Participants will increase their own cultural self-awareness and develop personal leadership skills to help them become more effective in an interdependent world. Learning will involve in-class exercises, active reflection, discussion, readings, field reports, short lectures, and out-of-class activities that engage students in the local culture on a deeper level. Contact hours: 45. Credit: 3 semester / 4.5 quarter hours.
Koç University Courses
The following is a sampling of academic disciplines available at Koç University in which CIEE students can enroll. The Koç University website includes updated course information at www.ku.edu.tr .
College of Administrative Sciences and Economics
College of Arts and Humanities
Archaeology and History of Art
English Language and Comparative Literature
Media and Visual Arts
College of Engineering
Chemical and Biological Engineering
Electrical and Electronics Engineering
College of Sciences
Molecular Biology and Genetics
The following courses have a Turkish or regional focus and are recommended to program participants:
Archaeology and History of Art
Anatolian Archaeology I, II, III, and IV
Archaeology and History of Hittites
Art and Archaeology of Seljuk Period
The Art of Mediterranean and European Civilizations: Ancient to Pre-Modern Constantinople
Painting in the Ottoman Empire
Legal Aspects of International Business
Turkish Accounting and Tax System
Economics of the European Union
Tracking the Turkish Economy
Turkish Economy I and II
Comparative Urban History
European Diplomacy and the Ottoman Empire
History of Ideologies: Nationalism, Socialism, and Fascism
Labor History of the Late Ottoman Empire and Early Republican Turkey
Modernization and Social Change in the Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman World in Transition: 1566-1839
Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union: 1917-1991
Contemporary Issues in Turkish Politics
Identity and Foreign Policy of the EU
Governments and Politics of the Middle East
International Migration in a Global World
The Turkish Constitutional System
Turkish Foreign Policy
Philosophy in the Middle Ages and Renaissance
Family Studies and Turkish Family
Turkish Society in Comparative Perspective
Required Turkish Language Courses
Beginning Turkish: Basic Turkish I and II
Intermediate Turkish: Basic Turkish III and IV
Students are required to enroll in a Turkish language course at their level (i.e., Basic Turkish I). These courses focus on developing communication skills through reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Students are introduced to the basics of grammar and vocabulary. Readings include level-appropriate texts. Students meet one hour a week with a peer language tutor as part of the course. Contact hours: 45-60. Recommended credit: 3 semester / 4.5 quarter hours.
Koç University Elective Course for Foreign Students
EXCH 301 Turkish Culture and History
The aim of this course is to introduce foreign students to the cultural and social issues that are significant in molding modern Turkey. The course covers the period from the early 19th century, with specific emphasis on the cultural and social transformations in major moments and turning points. To give an overview of the history of Turkey, the first weeks of the course cover the leading issues in the history of the Ottoman Empire and Turkish Republic. Then the course proceeds with selected topics that are important to understanding Turkish society. Contact hours: 45. Recommended credit: 3 semester / 4.5 quarter hours.