Orientation Week for Incoming Exchange Students of Spring 2020

Each semester, incoming exchange students to Koc University start their mobility off a week earlier than the local students with an Orientation Week.

Orientation Weeks consist of a five-days-program prior to the official semester dates.

During the Orientation Week, the incoming students of all programs are familiarized with Koc University as a higher education institution; they are introduced to the registration and course enrolment procedures at KU and supported with their residence permit procedures. They get to know all service providing units at the university and are shown around campus, the nearby neighborhood and Istanbul in general, in particular the historical city center, during the guided Istanbul tour organized by the OIP team.

All this is taking place with the support of our mentors, who are full-degree-seeking KU students. Mentors welcome the students during their move-in over the weekend before the Orientation, meet up with them during free times to mingle, socialize and provide necessary support with the settling into the dorm, KU and Istanbul. Our mentors accompany their mentees throughout the whole semester and make good friends with the all exchange student body besides their mentees.

KU: Home for Everyone

“I wouldn’t be able to describe my exchange semester at Koç University in one word, but I can tell you it has been one the best experiences –if not the best experience- I have had in my life. Since day one I was immersed into what felt like a different world. I am from Latin America and have lived in many countries in Europe, but Türkiye is definitely a unique gem. I can say that there is definitely something for everyone… amazing food, great night life, places filled with history, art and music, and so many travel destinations inside the country. Plus, the locals are kind and with helpful. Also, the OIP office and the mentors always went above and beyond with anything needed. I am so happy for the for the great classes I took, the friends I made, and all the memories I hold dearly.”

Manuela Beatriz Vieytez Beltran, IE University, Spain

Since, I arrived to Istanbul I got the “home feeling” from Turkish people; with their humbleness, hospitality, and smiling faces.

At Koç University, the staff inside and outside the class room were very helpful and engaging! The OIP and mentors made sure we would have an incredible time during our exchange with activities and support, also I am very glad to have taken part of the Turkish-host family program, a unique experience! Furthermore, at Koç University it was encouraging to try a new activity and to make use of the wide variation of its facilities.

I definitely will miss the amazing people I met and the times of discovering a new corner of Istanbul and its people, stopping many times a day to have a çay or Türk Kahvesi with baklava, and starting the day with a delicious Türk Kahvaltısı. Oh, and stopping by at Murtaza Bey at Hacıosman metro on my way to Koç to have a fresh simit!

Five months passed, and they were not enough to explore Istanbul and the rest of Türkiye. I am very thankful for the people that made this exchange possible and the new friendships I made, çok teşekkür ederim. I will go back to Türkiye one day soon! Türkiye geri döneceğim! Hasta pronto, see you soon!”

Cristian Mata Mejia, Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, the Netherlands

“My time of exchange at Koç University was – without exaggeration – the best thing I’ve done during my time at University. Arriving as I did, alone, from Northern Europe, İstanbul was a very daunting place the first week, with its enormous size, insane traffic, chaotic pulse, buildings devoid of perfectly right angles, and my limited knowledge of the language. But the place quickly grew on me.

It’s difficult to mention everything I miss from my time in Istanbul: The breathtaking view of the Bosphorus when commuting from Hacıosman to Koç, my wonderfully bright, passionate, helpful, and inspiring coursemates who I unfortunately didn’t “discover” until the last two months, the sights, the awe-inspiring layers of history that seems to be present everywhere, the friendly simit vendor at Hacıosman who – after having bought simit from him twice – was more affectionate and caring towards me than my own father (no exaggeration), or just all the times you got invited out for a cup of coffee or a drink by people you just met.

Home hasn’t been the same since coming back. I miss Türkiye immensely, to the point that I stop what I’m doing and get a little emotional when I hear Turkish being spoken close to me. The impression that’s been left on me is a deep one, and when the next opportunity comes, I will turn the tiller and set course for İstanbul again.”

Rasmus Trappe, Lund University, Sweden

“Merhaba! My first ever exchange semester felt straight out of a storybook. This was my second trip to Türkiye in the past year and as I packed my stuff, nostalgia overcame me as I inched closer to landing back at IST. Istanbul – the city which will forever hold a place in my heart, has given me the experience of a lifetime. From the city’s breathtaking views from the Golden Horn, the Turkish delights at Taksim Square, the antique shops in Balat and the crazy night life in Beşiktaş. Istanbul offers the perfect blend of historical and contemporary experiences which leave you awe-inspiring at every corner of the city. Having an interest in exploring old neighborhoods with cobbled streets and road-side cafes, Istanbul was a dream come true for me. But it’s not just the ambiance which makes Istanbul my favorite, it’s the culture and the people which make the cherry on the top. Turkish people are a very welcoming and accepting nation. Coming from Pakistan, they welcomed their kardeş with open arms and warm hospitality.

I’m glad that I chose Koç Üniversitesi for the exchange because it offers the right mix of studies and extracurricular activities. The Office of International Programs did an exemplary job in accommodating and organizing events for the exchange semester students to make our experience memorable. I also had the opportunity to travel on many trips to explore other cities of Türkiye. During my exchange, I formed friendships and shared experiences with not just the locals but many of the international students who were part of the exchange program. Among all the hustle bustle of exploring new places to visit and dining out in the city, I am grateful to have found some very good friends with whom I have developed life-long friendships. Istanbul has been very kind; it’s been a home to me.”

Asad Jamil Siddiqui, Lahore University of Management Sciences, Pakistan 

From KU to World

“The first day of my semester at Royal Holloway University of London was really exciting, everyone was very welcoming. When I finished the program, I couldn’t believe it was over, it was the best experience of my life! While I was a student in London, I came across the Winter Wonderland, one of the biggest and most entertaining theme and winter festival parks in the world. I won some prizes at the carnival games and when I returned to Türkiye, all of them took place in the most beautiful corner of my room. I felt the spirit of the new year as possible as I can! I am so glad that I had the opportunity to study in this unique university, which had an amazing view from where is just next to my dorm! Every morning, I woke up to this impressive view and it was like studying at Hogwarts!”

Özge Akgün, Royal Holloway University of London, United Kingdom 

“I postponed my graduation just to do this Erasmus, and I don’t regret it for a second. Amsterdam is a city where you can figure out who you are and who you want to be because it offers you to meet with people from all over the world with different backgrounds. I have never seen this much variety anywhere else. I shared a home with a Dutch woman that allowed me to see the world from the Dutch perspective. I have to say, the world seemed very clear and free from that perspective. I rode my bike in every weather condition, I paid the check with the Dutch way, and I helped everyone who seemed lost like a local because this is who Amsterdamers are. They help, they are kind but they are tough as well. I suggest everyone who wants to be free on their Erasmus period, free from determined programs, free to do everything, free to be who you are to choose Amsterdam. Also, Stroopwaffle and the amazing cheese culture is a plus.”

Sena Deniz Kıraç, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands

“As someone who is a part of the generation who grew up under the influence of American culture (their music, movies and tv series), I had always wanted to see what it really looked like. Since I am planning to apply for Ph.D. in the USA, this exchange gave me a taste of the culture, academia, and friendships in the States. But most importantly, I had fun with every cell in my body! I had the best food, the best coffee, the best road trips, the best NBA games and the best friendships in my whole life. Thank you for everything!”

Dilan Tulan, Emory University, United States

“My exchange semester in Singapore was truly a life-changing experience. Singapore is much more different than other Asian countries. The city is like a safe zone with plenty of beautiful natural places, amazing architecture, and most importantly its standard of living. I also had the chance to travel around Singapore so that I was able to observe and interact with other cultures. At the end of 4 months studying at Singapore Management University, I would say that I have become able to manage my life in a better way while being more sensible and solution-oriented. Overall, with the places I visited and the people I met all around Southeast Asia, I’m so happy that I studied abroad for a semester.”

Reyhan Cagac, Singapore Management University, Singapore