A quick look at the previous posts I made reminded me that while they're reflective, they're not very functional to students who are considering spending Summer in Istanbul. So here's my first solely functional- no musings about life- post about how life here in Istanbul has been like so far:
- Be Flexible: I had a rude shock when Bogazici suddenly rescheduled a "Psychology of Sexuality" course 2 days after term started to a slot which clashed with the rest of my course selections. Ostensibly due to a visiting Professor no longer deciding to spend Summer in Turkey, I suddenly had a hole in my schedule that needed to be filled- and fast!
- Stay in Contact: Johns Hopkins has a very supportive study abroad team which ensures students complete a pre-approval of study abroad credit process in order to prevent hiccups when transferring credit back. While we do have a list of "alternate" approved courses that are meant for situations like #1 above, it didn't help this time. Why? Because my designated alternates were cancelled too! Thankfully by preempting the problem and keeping everyone in the loop, we managed to find an acceptable alternative.
- Try something New: When Psychology of Sexuality was cancelled, I scrolled through the list of available courses to find something that would fit in the schedule. While I could have swapped for another Political Science course, I would have preferred Psychology credit. I chanced upon a Neuroscience class and shopped it for one session before adding it. While the natural science component of it is still challenging, I can say it's been an exciting insight into a neww field (for me!)
When applying, some might be concerned about the standard of English in a foreign language: it's no problem at all. Classes which are available for International Summer Program students are all taught in English and remain accessible- yes, there might be an "inside" joke or two between Professors and Students in Turkish but everyone's happy to translate it for you and hey, you'd have just learnt a new joke!
Initially when thinking of studying abroad, there might be many options available: one can register directly with the university or apply through various service providors (of which IES is one). There are pros and cons to both and hopefully the below will help you decide:
- Registering through a service provider gives you an additional layer of support. IES and most other providors have on-site staff and may also plan for trips to nearby areas (we went to Ephesus and Izmir, other groups have been to Prince's Islands etc.) This might make the slightly higher prices worth it.
- Being part of a providor's "program" gives you an immediate community- depending on how many students there are, this is the gang you'll be hanging out with, chilling with, shopping for groceries with etc. This is great as a smaller group makes finding friends so much easier, especially at the start.
- However, if a providor puts you in an 'off-site' accommodation (as IES does), it may mean you're further detached from other friends you make at the University. For instance, there are midnight soccer games planned by Bogazici's student union which we might want to join but having to travel back to Osmanbey makes it a challenging prospect.
Technically the best of both worlds would be what IES used to do (and might do in the future) which is to have a program but to house students at the Superdorm along with the majority of the Summer Students. It might be useful to check about the accommodation arrangements before registering.
Hope these thoughts help!
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Kit Shaun Tommy Koh
<p>A Blue Jay at Hopkins, a citizen of Singapore, a resident of the world: Titles and categories often complicate how we see our place in this world. Above everything else, I see myself as a pilot. Being up in the sky grants freedom, space, possibilities- a reminder that everything can be seen from a different perspective. Be it in education, while travelling or just being with friends- I constantly seek new dimensions, new ways of perceiving, a new- greater- understanding.</p>