More than a hundred Indonesian students have been selected to pursue studies at a number of higher education institutions in Turkey this year.
Blue Marmara Education, an education consultancy agency, said 141 students were flying to Turkey Sept. 2-21.
Agency Director Doddy Cleveland said studying in Turkey is becoming a trend among young Indonesians because the country is religiously and culturally similar to Indonesia. "In Indonesia, the majority are Muslims. In Turkey, 95% are Muslims," Cleveland told Anadolu Agency (AA). He said Turkey is a developed and modern country in terms of economy, technology and tourism. Cleveland said tuition fee at Turkish state universities are affordable for international students. The average tuition fee per semester at Turkish state universities ranged from 1.3 million rupiahs ($92) to 3 million rupiahs ($212). In fact, he said, the cost of studying medicine in one of Turkey's state universities is only 6 million to 7 million Indonesian rupiahs ($424-$495) per semester.
The Turkish government, explained Cleveland, provides a large subsidy to state universities. "With this large subsidy, students from outside Turkey also reap the benefits," he said. Cleveland said the opportunity to study in Turkey must be put to good use by students. "Turkish people are very fond of Indonesia," Cleveland said.
Fsentiani, a parent who sent her 18-year-old son to study at Anadolu University, said Turkey is a big country and has a rich history. Avicerna Putra Fenadi will study Communication Design and Management in Turkey starting this September. "I want my children who study in Turkey to be introduced to the heroes of Islam," said Fsentiani, who does not have a surname.
Indonesian Student Association in Turkey Chair Darlis Aziz said the number of Indonesian students in Turkey was 1,140 in 2018. But Aziz predicts this number will increase to 1,500 in 2019 with new students. "The majority of these students are studying in Istanbul and Ankara," Aziz said, adding they are also scattered in Konya, İzmir, Kayseri, Sakarya and Bursa.
Cleveland added in the last two years there had been an increase in the number of students in several cities such as Bursa, Sakarya, Kastamonu and Kayseri. Aziz said the total number of Indonesian students in these four cities could be more than 500.
"Most of them are those who come through independent channels," said Aziz, who is a student of Media and Culture Studies at Hacettepe University. According to Aziz, the advantage of studying in Turkey is that almost all campuses have an exchange program with a number of universities in Europe. This, explained Aziz, greatly benefits Indonesian students to broaden their horizons, networks and language skills.
"Most Indonesian students who study in Turkey have better English than local students so foreign students usually graduate more easily," he said.
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