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10 reasons why you should not go on Erasmus to Turkey

Hello everyone, my name is Lukas and I spent previous semester at Mugla Sitki Kocman University in Turkey! Here is 10 reasons, why I would (not) recommend it to anyone:

1. You will lose many stereotypes

I still remember the face of all friends and family members when I officially announced the destination, I will spend next 4 months in… Five seconds of silence followed by same exact question: „Why… Why Turkey? “. And to be clear… I did not have any idea what to answer. Because of hot weather? Because I like kebab? Because I wanted to choose the most exotic destination Europe could offer?

After hearing horrifying stories of „friend of my friend…“, and watched dozens of videos of „Don’ts in Turkey“, I counted with the worst. However, after 4 months in Turkey, I found, that I couldn’t be more wrong. Why? I will try to explain the reasons in this article.

2.You will not spend time at school

If you are imagining your Erasmus to be sitting behind school desks all day and being overwhelmed by homework in the evening, Turkey is not for you…

The education level in Turkey is in general most likely worse than whichever university you study at in your country. On the other hand, it means that you will have plenty of time for other activities such as travelling. Pamukalle, Antalya, Izmir, Cappadocia, you name it. And in the case of Mugla, the nearest beach is just 30 minutes by bus from the school. So, prepare your swimming suit and sun cream, because during spring and summer you will be at beach every single day!

3.You will not know what to do with your money

High inflation and kebab for 2 Euros… That’s what I knew about Turkey before coming there. However, the accommodation by my time didn’t cost more than 100 Euros in shared apartment just few metres from the nearest beach (and I was afterwards even told by locals, that I was paying too much). Lunch delivered to the apartment has never costed more than 4 Euros.

Simply, with your Erasmus scholarship you will live much better life than for the same money wherever in Europe you come from. I travelled all around western coast of Turkey every second weekend, visited Istanbul, and still hasn’t spent a single cent from my own pocket.

4. You will not find a single day boring

When you wake up and you exactly know what will happen during following day. Don’t expect this in Turkey and don’t go there if you are lover of stereotypes! Even by small walk around your village, you can cause street fight of local street dogs! Having a tea while waiting for the bus may result in argue with the shop owner who asks you to pay ten times more than locals.  

While having a breakfast with your friends you might get to know, that the other guest speaks fluently your language, because he was there in prison for couple of years. Simply, if you feel like Turkey can’t surprise you anymore, be sure that it can! Be prepared for load of memories!

5. You will not have time for yourself

If you are introverted person who likes to spend time on his own, definitely don’t go to Turkey. Be prepared to receive messages at 2am if you don’t want to go to coffee place to play Turkish national board games Tavla or Okey. After lessons you will be able to spend hours with your new friends talking and drinking tea.

 Furthermore, Turkey is a bridge between Asia and Europe. It’s a melting pot of lot of different cultures who are waiting for you to discover. Do you want to meet and smoke shisha with people from Sudan? You are welcome. Do you want to learn, how to dance national dances with people from Afghanistan in local park? Sure! Do you want to learn the real meaning of “My house is your house”? Go to Turkey!

6.Your friends won’t want to play Activity board game with you anymore

Be prepared to master your mime skills. Sorry not, sorry, the general knowledge of English in Turkey is not among the best ones. Especially if you are trying to be local and avoid touristy places. Therefore, communicating with the minimum of Turkish you will learn supported with mime skills is necessary. And guess what? It always somehow works!

Furthermore, as far as English will become your only confident way of communication, whenever you will meet someone who speaks English, you will instantly become friends! Trust me! Life in Turkey is way easier with Turkish English-speaking friends! Luckily, you will have more than enough of them!

7. You will not find officers in your country annoying anymore

Bureaucracy! Be prepared for loads of documents you will have to fill in! Stamp which is confirming that previous stamp is the real one… Papers which are denied by one officer are approved by the other one just next-door… Government requiring paying health insurance also for the days which has already passed, and nothing happened.

Do you think that’s all? Well… Be prepared that your mobile phone will stop receiving any mobile signal after 3 months if you don’t pay mobile device import tax to local government. All these things will make you start hating Turkey. But luckily just for couple of days until one of your loyal friendly Turkish friends will solve it without asking for anything back.

8.You will not find kebab in your country as delicious as you used to

I know... Sorry… Kebab you can find in your street wherever in Europe your live is not kebab. First of all, its called doner. And in addition, it’s by far not as good as “kebab” in Turkey. And this meal is not the only delicious food Turkey can offer. Have you ever heard about kofte, pide, lahmacun, or cigkofte?  All of them are so delicious and so cheap!

Furthermore, after the visit you will hardly be able to imagine your mornings without proper Turkish tea and “kahvalti” (Turkish breakfast). The whole table filled with food which you would never be able to eat all. Which reminds me… How many times does that happen during student life in your country…?

9.You will not find yourself the same person

This is the side effect of every Erasmus but might be even more important in the case of Turkey. Due to my opinion nothing will change you as much as spending time away from your family and your friends. But why this effect is even stronger in Turkey? Simply because the culture is different!

The problem you would solve in your country in the matter of one minute and one call, will become a week challenge full of language barrier and trying to understand not understandable. Imagine that you know that you will be homeless in one week if you don’t find accommodation in country, where hardly one understands English, such as it happened to me. And these experiences will give you much more than anything you learn at school gives you now.

10.You will not want to come home

So? Have you found Turkey as perfect destination for experience of your life? Then try to get ready for the moment, that I wasn’t ready for. Leaving…  It’s always difficult to say goodbye and in the case of Turkey it is not an exception. Therefore, get ready that one day after your arrival to home you will start searching for flight tickets back to meet your friends you left there and continue making memories together!

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