Turkey has become a favorite destination for foreign students thanks to its cultural, religious and economic strength and location. Currently, more than 148,000 foreign students study in the country, according to the Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities (YTB).
As many as 25,000 study on scholarships. Over the past 10 years, there has been 75% increase in the number of foreign students coming to Turkey as a result of the growing number of outstanding higher education facilities. Most students that prefer to study in Turkish institutions come from Asia, Africa and the Balkans.
Talking to Anadolu Agency, a postgraduate student from Albania, Fredinand Hasmuca, said he chose Turkey to pursue education for the country's rich past and heritage. "Turkey is a world center where civilizations meet. The country is rich, and it is the meeting place of cultures of Islam, the Ottomans and Mesopotamia," he said. He added that it was much easier to get a residence permit after registering in a university in Turkey as compared to Europe. Hasmuca, who graduated from the faculty of theology in Ankara University with a scholarship, said education in Turkey was also affordable. He mentioned the role of Turkish nongovernmental philanthropic organizations that they help foreign students pursue education. "For example, about 30 students, including me, continued education with the help of the Asma Kopru International Students Association," Hasmuca said. The voluntary group provides dormitory and other facilities to foreign students in Ankara. He also mentioned that before foreign students coming to Turkey to pursue their education were seen as tourists, but that this perception had changed with the increasing number of students choosing Turkey for their education.
A student of political science at Ankara's Yıldırım Beyazıt University, Mubarek Muhammed from Djibouti said he came to Turkey on the advice of his friends. "I had two options. I could have gone to France or the U.S., but I preferred Turkey for its cultural and religious features," Muhammed said. He said that he would encourage students in Djibouti to come and pursue their education in Turkey.
Somali high school student Abdurrezak Muhammed also said that he would recommend Turkey to everyone in his country because of the fact that Turkey is also a Muslim country.
Ubeydullah Yusuf from the southern province of Pattani in Thailand, who applied to Ankara-based Yildirim Beyazit University's Engineering Department, said: "Pattani has a lot of children who don't get an education, there are economic difficulties. I would recommend they to come to Turkey."
Mufizu Rhaman, a Rohingya Muslim, originally from Rakhine State in Myanmar, studying international relations in the same institution, said he came to Turkey due to difficulties his community was facing in Myanmar. He also thanked the Turkish government and people for their support for the uprooted Rohingya Muslim community.