Summer Exchange at Koç University

Summer Exchange at Koç University offers a broad range of courses and provides an education with an international and intercultural perspective.



Koç University’s Summer Exchange Program aims to create a rewarding summer experience in a Mediterranean country for students from both partner and non-partner universities. It combines high-quality courses and the opportunity to participate in local activities throughout the 7-week Summer School.


As a non-profit foundation university in İstanbul since its establishment, Koç University has become a leading university in Turkey, distinguished by notable contributions to the elevation of education, knowledge, and service, domestically and beyond. Koç University ranks among the top research universities in Turkey in terms of number of articles per academic member, which indicates the importance attached to research, and success of academic members and research programs.


The Summer Exchange Program at KU offers a broad range of courses in English, both on undergraduate and graduate level taught by an international team of experienced lecturers.


Students who are enrolled in a partner institution as a full-degree-seeking student are waived from the tution fe for this program. Students of non-partner institutions need to contact to find out about the free-mover procedures.


KU’s 2019 Summer School will run between 15 June and 8 August, 2020 and there will be Orientation Days on June 11 and 12, 2020. 



An exchange semester shouldn't be all about the academics! KU offers the incoming exhange students various social and cultural activities throughout the semester. 


12 JUNE 2020 – Turkish Breaskfast (by OIP)

You can have breakfast in every country in the world but believe us when we say Turkish kahvaltı (breakfast) is a different kind of dining experience. Literally translating to “before coffee,” kahvaltı is all about sharing and connection rather than just a meal. While much of the rest of the world views breakfast as a routine necessity when starting off the day, in Turkey, kahvaltı is a gathering that brings — and keeps — friends and family together. For the Turkish; it’s not about what you eat, but who you eat with.

Our incoming summer exchange students will be welcomed with a kahvaltı off campus during the Orientation Days and will get the chance to mingle with peer students, both international and local.   

This activity will be free of charge.


19 JUNE 2020 – Whole-Day Bosphorus Tour (20 EUR)

The Bosporus or Bosphorus; is a narrow, natural strait and an internationally significant waterway located in northwestern Turkey. It forms part of the continental boundary between Europe and Asia, and divides Turkey by separating Anatolia from Thrace. It is the world's narrowest strait used for international navigation, the Bosporus connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara, and, by extension via the Dardanelles, the Aegean and Mediterranean seas.

Bosphorus is one of the most popular areas of Istanbul for its inhabitants, especially during Summer for its climate. Its shores are lined with fine neighborhoods, Ottoman palaces, fortresses, old wooden villas, hotels, parks and gardens, restaurants, cafeterias, and so on. Taking a tour between Europe and Asia is a unique experience for every visitor in Istanbul! 


26 JUNE 2020 – Visit to Miniatürk Museum (15 EUR)

Miniatürk is a miniature park with 135 models in total, 62 from Istanbul, 60 from Anatolia and 13 from Ottoman territory outside of Turkey, that were selected among thousands of architectural works based on their reput. Miniaturk has become a showcase of Turkey with the Slogan of 'A small Model of a Big Country'. With a limited time at hand, it might be difficult to go and see two of the seven wonders of the ancient ages, Artemis Temple and Halicarnassus Mausoleum or Fairy Chimneys in Cappadocia but in Miniatürk, you can get a grasp on what it feels like visiting those places. 


3 JULY 2020 – Hiking and Photography Trip to Atatürk Arboretum (15 EUR)

Atatürk Arboretum is a botanical park in Sarıyer, Istanbul. The arboretum covers an area of 296 ha (730 acres) southeast of Belgrad Forest and has more than 2000 different types of native and foreign trees and plants. With small lakes and lovely inhabitants such as ducks and terrapins, it is the perfect spot to pause all the rush and listen to the nature. 


10 JULY  2020 - Visit to İstanbul Archaeology Museums (20 EUR)

The Istanbul Archaeology Museums (Turkish: İstanbul Arkeoloji Müzeleri) are a group of three archaeological museums located in the Eminönü district of Istanbul, Turkey, near Gülhane Park and Topkapı Palace.

The Istanbul Archaeology Museums consists of three separate but nearby museums:

  • Archaeological Museum (in the main building)
  • Museum of the Ancient Orient
  • Museum of Islamic Art (in the Tiled Kiosk) 

In those museum complex, you can find Alexander Sarcophagus, once believed to be prepared for Alexander the Great and oldest surviving love poem in the world that was written by the ancient Sumerians and etched on a clay tablet about 4000 years ago, besides many other prominent artifacts of Turkish, Hellenistic and Roman civilizations.


17 JULY – A Workshop on Turkish Art of Marbling: Ebru (25 EUR)

Ebru is the traditional art of creating colorful patterns by sprinkling and brushing color pigments on a pan of oily water and then transforming this pattern to a special paper. It has been a traditional art of book enriching calligraphy and binding books for many centuries. In the 13th century, the first forms of Ebru emerged in Central Asia and spread to Anatolia through. During the Ottoman period, Turkish calligraphers and artists created new forms and perfected techniques.

KU Incoming Summer Exchange students will have the chance to visit an art gallery specialized in Ebru and create their own painting.


If a student signs up for all activities, the total fee will be 90 EUR intead of 95 EUR. For an activity to be held, there should be minimm 10 students attending. They payment will be made during the Orientation Days.



İstanbul is a lively city with a rich cultural heritage, thanks to its geographical location. With more than 8000 years of glamorous history, the city has always been an important metropolis as the former capital of many empires, including Roman, Byzantine, Latin and Ottoman. İstanbul fascinates visitors with the precious ancient monuments and its unique beauty with the Bosphorus passing across the city to separate Europe and Asia.


The city owns cultural phenomena of centuries. Some of the wonderful sites of İstanbul are Hagia Sophia, Sultanahmet Mosque, Maiden’s Tower, Dolmabahçe Palace, Basilica Cistern, Grand Bazaar, Galata Tower and Princes’ Islands besides many more to visit.


Located on both sides of the Bosphorus, Istanbul bridges Asia and Europe both physically and culturally. It is one of the greatest cities in the world where you can see a modern western city combined with its own unique culture. From the foundation of Byzantium in the 7th century B.C. until today, Istanbul has always held an important role in the history of humanity as the cradle or capital of many civilizations. Today, there are 16 million people living in this spread out city. This makes Istanbul the largest city in Turkey and one of the biggest cities in the world.



In order for you to see KU’s partners, please have a look at our Institutional Partners List



If you are enrolled in a partner institution as a full-degree-seeking student, you can be nominated by your home university on, thus you will not need to pay the tuition fee. Please consult the Exchange Programs Office in your university to learn more about your university’s internal summer abroad procedures.  


Once you are nominated, you will receive an email with your log-in credentials. With this e-mail, you can immediately begin the application process and upload the required documents. Once the application period is over, all applications will be reviewed and the applicants will be notified both through e-mail and on the application portal.


Please note that if you are enrolled in a partner institution as a full-time student, tuition fee will be waived for you. However, all other expenses (accommodation, transportation, dining etc.) will be at your own cost.


Required application documents for partner university students are as follows:


  • 1 passport size photo
  • Copy of English proficiency exam or a letter from your study abroad advisor confirming that your English level is minimum B2 (CEFR)
  • Sealed and approved official transcript with a mininum CGPA 2.20/4.00 for Erasmus countries and 2.50/4.00 for Bilateral Exchnage countries. 
  • Identification Certificate / Passport


You can reach out to for further information.





*To have an idea about the couses, you may check previous years Summer course lists here. However please note that the list changes each summer and some courses may have limited capacity.



Summer semester incoming exchange students will attend an orientation program before the start of classes. Orientation Days of Summer 2020 will be held on 11 and 12 June. During the orientation, students will have the chance to get to know KU better and socialize with other students. 


Please check our pre-arrival resources and arriving on campus pages. 



At Koc University, each incoming exchange student is assigned to a mentor student who is a full-degree-seeking student at KU. Mentors act as a guide and resourse person to assist in transition to life at KU throughout the semester. The mentors go through a rigorous selection, interview and training process before being assigned to a group of students. Mentors are reliable, hard-working and culturally-aware individuals. They take incoming exchange students’ well-being into consideration at all times and are always willing to help.



Incoming exchange students have the opportunity to stay on campus during their mobility at KU.


UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS (Bachelor): Triple and double bunk beds are available at West Campus for those who apply and make payments during the assigned period.


GRADUATE STUDENTS (Master’s/PhD): Double bunk beds are available at West Campus for those who apply and make payments during the assigned period.


Fees, application & payment details, check-in & check-out dates are to be announced later.


Students requiring an alternative room type due to disability/medical accommodation should send their requests and official health reports to: for verification before the application deadline.







As per immigration laws in Turkey, it is MANDATORY that all students have valid insurance that covers the total duration of their enrolment at Koç University. The insurance should take effect from the day the student enters Turkey and should cover them for their complete duration of stay. 
General requirements for health insurance policies: 


  • Valid in Turkey 
  • Translated into English 
  • Meets minimum coverage requirements (as outlined below) 


Minimum Policy Content



Contracted Institutions

*Non-Contracted Institutions

Annual Minimum Limit


Annual Minimum Limit


Outpatient Diagnosis Treatmend


Insured : %40
Company : %60


Insured : %40
Company : %60

Inspatient Diagnosis Treatmend


Insured : %0
Company %100


Insured : %20
Company %80



*Non- Contracted Institutions: Institutions(hospitals, physicians' offices, and the other health institutions.) do not have an agreement with insurer



Note: There are other insurance options for foreign students in Turkey, however, to obtain any insurance in Turkey will take time and is often a complex process. You might have medical needs until you obtain a Turkish Health Insurance and you have to pay extraordinary amounts of cash money for any procedure as a foreigner. Therefore, we recommend that you are insured prior to entry to Turkey.



Purchasing Your Insurance From Turkey

You can purchase an insurance from Turkey before your arrival by emailing from Guard Me International and specifying the dates of your stay, that you are an exchange student. They will walk you through the rest of the process.


This is an agency that provides insurance to international students worldwide and has no connection with Koc University. It’s entirely student’s responsibility to decide what type of insurance they might choose to obtain and from where.





Bilateral Social Security Agreements as Alternative Insurance Coverage In Turkey 
Students whose nationalities are listed below may bring from their home country their bilateral social security agreementlabelled with the corresponding agreement code. 


In order to be covered by Turkish Public Health Insurance, students will fill out a supporting form at the OIP and will also submit: 


- The original document from your home country with the agreement code and original signature (not a photocopy) 
- Application form that we will provide 
- Passport photocopy 


The OIP will schedule a trip to the social security office where all student agreements will be validated and students will receive their Turkish social security number. Students must bring passports to this appointment. This option is free of charge for eligible nationalities.



Agremeent Code


A/T 11, A/T 12, A/T 23


A/TR 3, A/TR3-A, TR/A6

The Netherlands 

N/TUR 106, N/TUR 111, N/TUR 112 


BT.8, BT.10


SE 208-01 FT, SE 208-02 FT, SE 208-04 FT,SE 208-05 TF, SE 208-06 AFT, SE 208-06 CFT, SE208-17 FT, SE 208-18 TF, SE 208-19 FT, SE 208-28 FT, SE 208-30 FT 

Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus 

K.K.T.C. / T.C. 3, K.K.T.C. / T.C. 5


MC/TR 4, TR/MC 10


R/TR 3


AL/TR 4, AL/TR 10


BH/TR4, BH/TR5, 

Czech Republic

CZ/TR 111, CZ/TR 112


L/TR 3,








What is culture shock? 


Culture shock is the way you react and feel when the cultural cues you know so well from home are lacking. In our daily lives each of us knows how to perform a myriad of activities on any particular day in an amazingly efficient manner. We can shower, get dressed, make it to campus, grab a coffee, go to the library, research and photocopy, print out a paper, go to class, pick up a few groceries and get back home without thinking about any of these tasks. We know when to j-walk without comtemplating. We know how to interpret motives when someone runs into us--was it a dangerous encounter, impolite gesture or simply an accident? When someone yells at us, we know how to analyze the situation and react whether it be out of anger, joy or frustration--all in a matter of seconds.


These activities all require cultural knowledge, and when you go to a new country you must learn to recognize normal behavior, interpret cultural signals, navigate the new rules, and react in an adult manner appropriate to that culture. Inexperience in the culture takes its toll on your psyche, and your reaction will be determined by your knowledge of that culture, your ability to observe people and your willingness to accept this new/different (but not better or worse) way of doing things.


The more subtle the differences, the harder your task. For many students who have spent years learning a foreign language and studying cultural information about a country, it is easy to accept that the "rules are different". Those, on the other hand, who go to a country where English is the native language, may be caught off guard to learn that cultural differences abound, and culture shock may be more severe as a result.


Experts believe that cultural adjustment often occurs in three stages:


  • Honeymoon stage — excitement about being in the new country.
  • Uncomfortable stage — frustration, confusion and negative feelings about the new culture, homesickness, illness. This stage is often called ‘Culture shock’.
  • Adjustment stage — understanding many aspects of the new culture, making friends and discovering helpful people at the university; ability to keep core values of the home country but operate within the values of the new community.


Remembering the following facts will help: Culture shock doesn't come from a specific event. It is caused by encountering different ways of doing things, being cut off from cultural cues, having your own cultural values brought into question, feeling that rules are not adequately explained, and being expected to function with maximum skill without adequate knowledge of the rules.


Therefore, strategies for coping include the following: 


  • Know as much as possible about your host country (preferably before you go, but once there depend on the host nationals to help). 
  • Find logical reasons for cultural differences. Many have evolved over time for very specific purposes that are no longer apparent. 
  • Try to spend more time with your mentor, discuss your feelings and talk about your experiences. Give specific incidents, tell how you would do something at home and ask what you must have missed in a particular encounter. 
  • Have faith in yourself that you will survive and cope and have a positive experience. This faith in yourself that you have the drive and energy to learn about a new culture will inevitably pay great dividends and make for the remarkable experience it should be. 


Coping with the Adjustment Process


Understand that it is normal for anyone in a new country to experience some challenges adjusting to the new culture.


  • Learn about and experience the new culture.
  • Meet people and make new friends both from your home country and across the globe.
  • Meet Turkish students and learn more about Turkish culture by talking to them in the classroom or on the campus.
  • Get involved by joining clubs and organizations and by participating in activities on the campus.
  • Expect and respect differences and similarities.
  • Maintain contact with family and friends back home. Phone or write home, watch a video from your home country or eat in a restaurant that serves food from your home country.
  • Take care of yourself physically: get plenty of rest and exercise and eat well.
  • Get involved in an activity or with a group. Visit to learn more about the variety of student clubs and groups available to students.
  • Work towards feeling comfortable in the new culture.
  • Work on learning daily Turkish words and phrases.
  • Participate in Survival Turkish Course.
  • Enjoy nature. Walk around the campus, sit by the seaside in Sariyer and enjoy the view of the third bridge.


What personal characteristics may help?


  • Tolerance for ambiguity
  • Low goal task orientation
  • Open-mindedness
  • Being non-judgmental
  • Empathy
  • Being communicative
  • Flexibility
  • Adaptability
  • Curiosity
  • Motivation
  • Self-reliance


Many students who are academically focussed find that rolling with the punches, being flexible and not being too hard on themselves will take effort on their part.


Tips for Living in a Diverse Community


  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
  • If you’re curious about something, ask. Sincere questions are appreciated more than uninformed assumptions.
  • Try something different.
  • Take advantage of the many opportunities to explore new things in Istanbul.
  • Respect diversity.
  • People from a variety of cultures, races, ethnic, economic and geographic backgrounds, abilities, sexual orientations, and religious and political beliefs enrich Istanbul’s community.
  • Be flexible, open, and honest.
  • Expect to have some uncomfortable moments. Roll with them. Remember that learning can be experiential—it’s not always intellectual.


Advice from Other International Students


  • Don’t stay alone in your room every night.
  • Go out with a friend to see the city or shop.
  • Get involved with nationality clubs or other campus organizations.
  • Travel around Turkey.
  • Do not worry about making mistakes.
  • Do not be afraid to try new words or to practice your Turkish.


Transition (Do’s and Don’ts)


  • Greetings & how to address people: professors, friends and strangers
  • Sense of personal space, «invading one’s space»: Some people tend to be very sensitive about space, be aware of the other people’s reaction.
  • Body odor: Turkish people tend to be very sensitive to smells, frequent laundering of clothing, daily bathing, use of soap/lotion/deodorant (not too much cologne/perfume). Be aware that  odors from food/smoke may be offensive to others.
  • Some will be very direct in their communication-opinionated, passionate; others will be more indirect-the sugar-coating culture
  • Appropriate/inappropriate topics may depend on the situation
  • Safe topics: the weather, classes, jobs, sports, movies, fashion, travel
  • Topics for friends and people you know well:  Money, religion, politics
  • Be aware that not all humor is cross-cultural.
  • Hand gestures and body language may mean different things.


Staying Safe


  • When entering larger venues, always decide on a meeting place with those you are with just in case you get separated.  
  • Never leave your bags or other valuable items unattended. 
  • Always keep your wallet and phone in a front pocket that you can zip or button up if possible. Don't make your mobile phone a moving target. The longer the phone call, the more likely you are to be spotted by a thief.
  • Always watch your beverage. Never leave your drink unattended or accept drinks from strangers.  
  • Know your limits. Consuming too much alcohol can land you in trouble and potentially leave you very vulnerable.  
  • Make sure you tell your mentor where you are and who you are with, especially if you are with someone you don't know well. 
  • Always try to make prior arrangements as to how you will get home.


Tips for Staying Safe


  • Exercise common sense about your personal safety and belongings.
  • Do not carry large amounts of cash and, unless traveling, leave your passport in a safe place in your room. 
  • If you choose to drink, do so responsibly. Criminals are known to target vulnerable individuals whose judgment is impaired by intoxication.
  • Pay attention to your personal belongings, particularly in busy locales. Thieves use snatch-and-grab techniques to steal smartphones, laptops, purses, and other valuables. In restaurants, bars, theaters, and other public places, keep bags within reach; do not place possessions on the floor or hang them on a chair.


While Travelling in Turkey


  • Like anywhere in the world, you will need to keep your wits about you and be cautious and apply the same safety rules that you would in your native country.
  • Research the destination that you planning to travel to- whether you are travelling along the popular coastal resorts of Turkey, rural areas or the large cities.
  • Avoid isolated places.
  • Use licensed taxis only.
  • Do not be a victim of opportunity theft by leaving your handbag wide open.
  • Book hotels with good reputations, look at the reviews first. Always pick up a hotel business card and carry with you.
  • Photocopy your passport and leave it with someone you trust. If you do lose your passport, they can fax the photocopy through to you. This will help your local consulate to issue new travel documents quicker.


A Guide to Social Etiquette in Turkey 


There’s a lot to learn about social etiquette in Turkey but knowing the basics will be enough in most cases.




  • Dress is one of the most common stumbling blocks for international students and although there are some misconceptions about Turkish attitudes to women’s dress (like the must wear burqas) attitudes to dress are generally more conservative particularly in the east of Turkey.
  • So mini-skirts and skimpy shorts are clothes you may like to avoid but on the whole Turkish people are very respectful and polite.


Social Situations


  • Not everyone will follow social etiquette as strictly as others but just in case it’s best to know how to properly greet people and learn the basics. One of the first things you’ll likely notice is that Turkish people in general have a smaller area of personal place so they might stand closer to you then you’ll be used to.
  • Handshakes are the proper traditional greeting in Turkey, and this includes shaking hands with men, women and children. Putting your hands in your pockets and standing with them on your hips is also seen as rude particularly when talking to people.
  • Men and women kissing each other on the cheek when meeting and parting is also common.
  • If you are in an in-depth conversation with a Turkish person and they can touch your arms or hands, it is just their way of emphasizing their thoughts and opinions.  


Things You Should Beware Of


  • Apart from learning how you should act you should also be aware of how locals may react to you based on your appearance, dress or nationality. 
  • Asian students may be asked some questions about where they’re from and what it’s like there. These questions are bound by curiosity so don’t be offended.
  • Homosexual acts between adults over 18 are legal and places like Istanbul and the towns of Antalya and İzmir are considered more gay friendly.
  • Smoking is a hot issue in Turkey and while smoking was prohibited in all public places in 2009 don’t be surprised if you see many people flouting the ban.


When visiting a Turkish friend's house…


Remember to take off your shoes when you enter a Turkish home. It is consider disrespectful to enter a Turkish home wearing your shoes. You will be given some house slippers to put on instead.


Turkey closes for lunch…


Mealtimes are very important for Turkish people and lunch is no exception. Banks and businesses will close for up to 1 hour for lunchtime, and it is not common practice to quickly eat a sandwich at your desk; in Turkey they will enjoy a relaxed sit down meal with colleagues.


Turkish people love to hear non-Turkish people speak Turkish


Even if you only speak a few words it will bring much appreciation. So you are more than welcome to practice your Turkish!

 If you need help with the adjustment process, or if you have questions or concerns, please contact the Counseling Services (KURES). All information shared with counselors is confidential.



Health Centers in both campuses operate 24/7.


Students can reach the Health Center as below:


For Fener (Main) Campus, by dialing university extension “1273” or “0212-338 1100” from mobile phones and external land-lines.


For West Campus, by dialing university extension “7000” or “0212-338 7000” from mobile phones and external land-lines. 


Health Center has an ambulance for transferring patients to other hospitals, when needed.


Koç University’s Health Center welcomes all exchange students. The center is equipped with 24-hour care and English-speaking doctors. It also has an ambulance and can be reached by dialling:


Emergency: +90 212 338 1100


Ambulance/Call Center: +90 212 338 1273


For a more detailed information, you can visit Health Centre's website.




Please take a look at for further information on Koc University’s Campus Facilities 


Information Technology


Computer labs and campus-wide wireless Internet access are available to students. In addition, scanners, printers and photocopy machines are available for student use. For more information regarding IT services, you can visit