Turkey has become one of the top destinations for international students, with the country offering tremendous opportunities for learning.
The government has announced a vision to draw around 500,000 foreign students by offering attractive scholarships.
According to the Turkish Council of Higher Education, around 115,000 foreign students are currently studying at Turkish universities, putting the country among the top 10 host nations for international students. Under the Türkiye Bursları (Turkish Scholarships) program, around 5,000 students from across the globe are accepted each year to pursue undergraduate, master's and PhD studies at Turkish universities with full-funded scholarships.
Besides the scholarships and world-class education, students also choose Turkey for its vibrant social life, multicultural society and rich historical background.
Faiz Bin Ali, a Malaysian graduate from Istanbul Commerce University, told Anadolu Agency that he chose to study in Turkey because the country is a center for trade and has an "amazing culture." Ali, who is the director of a trading and consulting firm, completed his master's degree in international trade in 2016. He was active with nongovernmental organizations and attended seminars, meetings and corporate training.
"Turkey was my dream destination due to its sociocultural, historical and political significance," said Noushad MK, assistant professor for the Turkish department at Jamia Millia Islamia University in New Delhi. Noushad completed his studies at Istanbul University in 2012 and returned to India after the "fulfilment of my educational and personal dream." "The cultural and historical richness of the country amazed me [enough] to make Turkey my second home," he said. "Turkey is unique in its cultural and historical richness. The perception of common people toward outsiders, especially Indians, was also a significant reason for my selection of Turkey. Turkish people are not racist in general. They don't treat Indians as people from a third world country."
As a citizen of India, home to over 1.3 billion people, life in Istanbul was easier for Noushad in comparison to his own country. "Life was fast and expensive compared to India. Istanbul is too crowded according to local residents, but I found it ok in comparison to Delhi, where I am from. The people and their treatment made me feel an easiness in Turkey that I may not feel elsewhere." During his student life, Noushad, a Muslim from the northern part of India, experienced full religious freedom and security in Turkey. "Studying in Turkey widened my vision and expanded my scope in my home country. I realized this once I came back from Turkey. The great value and respect I received in my home country after my arrival from Turkey has proved it."
Muhsin Kurtis, a Macedonian who studied econometrics at Marmara University in Istanbul between 2004 and 2009, told Anadolu Agency that Turkey has all the characteristics of an Eastern civilization, which led him to choose the country for higher studies. "I feel myself in Turkey as I am living in my motherland," he said. He recalled having some difficulties with the residence permit process while living in Turkey, but the issue was mostly resolved with the establishment of the Directorate General of Migration Management in 2013. He noted that Turkey is full of social activities and youth-friendly events. "In addition to sports and traveling with my countrymen, we organized study tours and some other activities. "It is a privilege to study in a place that was known as the cradle of civilization."
Fennan Mohammad Bashir, an international graduate from Istanbul Technical University, said he completed his studies at more than one university in Turkey. "Students' relations with local people and numerous extra-curricular activities allow international students to graduate from more than one university. They have knowledge beyond their formal education within four walls. Any country that is not your motherland may not be easy. But as we consider Turkey our own country, I did not face any problems during my student life in Istanbul," he said.