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10 Things to Do to Study in Istanbul Without Breaking the Bank

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Studying abroad is a dream for many students, offering the opportunity to explore new cultures and gain international experience. Istanbul, a city straddling two continents with its rich history, diverse culture, and vibrant atmosphere, is an attractive destination for international students. However, concerns about the cost of living and tuition fees can deter many from pursuing their dream of studying in this enchanting city.


The fine education system and reasonable prices are good reasons to pack your bags and go to Turkey. Planning carefully and making smart choices allows you to study abroad in Istanbul without breaking the bank. So, Educatly is here to explore various strategies and tips to make your dream of studying in Istanbul affordable.


10 Things to Study in Istanbul Without Breaking the Bank:

1. Research affordable universities

One of the first steps in making your study abroad experience in Istanbul budget-friendly is to research universities that offer affordable tuition fees. Turkey has a wide range of universities, both public and private, with various programs taught in English. Public universities generally have lower tuition fees compared to private institutions. Some renowned public universities in Istanbul include Bogazici University, Istanbul Technical University, and Istanbul University.


Turkish government scholarship programs, such as the Türkiye Scholarships, offer financial support to international students pursuing higher education in Turkey. These scholarships cover tuition, accommodation, and monthly stipends, making them an excellent option for those looking to save money while studying in Istanbul.


2. Budgeting and financial planning

Creating a detailed budget is crucial for managing your finances while studying abroad. Estimate your monthly expenses, including rent, food, transportation, and entertainment, and compare them to your expected income from scholarships, part-time work, or financial support from your family. Online budgeting tools and apps can help you track your expenses and stick to your budget.


When it comes to currency exchange, consider using a local bank for better exchange rates and lower fees. Avoid exchanging currency at airports or tourist areas, as they often offer less favorable rates.


3. Affordable accommodation options

Finding affordable accommodation is a significant factor in managing your study abroad expenses. Istanbul offers a variety of housing options, and your choice can significantly impact your budget. Here are some affordable accommodation options to consider:


University dormitories: Many universities in Istanbul provide on-campus dormitories for international students at reasonable rates. These dorms often have essential amenities and offer a convenient and cost-effective housing solution.


Shared apartments: Renting a shared apartment with other students can be more affordable than renting a single apartment. Websites and apps like Sahibinden and Airbnb can help you find shared accommodation listings.


Homestays: Living with a local host family can provide a unique cultural experience and often includes meals, which can help you save on food expenses.


Off-campus housing: Explore neighborhoods outside the city center, as they typically offer more affordable rent. However, make sure to consider transportation costs when choosing an off-campus location.


4. Public transportation

Istanbul has an extensive and well-connected public transportation system, which includes buses, trams, ferries, and the metro. Investing in a transportation card or pass can save you significant money on daily commuting costs. Consider purchasing a monthly or semester transportation pass for even more savings.


Additionally, walking and cycling are excellent ways to explore the city without spending on transportation. Istanbul's unique geography allows you to discover many attractions on foot or by bike, providing both a cost-effective and healthy means of transportation.


5. Cooking at home

Eating out at restaurants and cafes can quickly drain your budget. To save money, consider cooking your meals at home. You can shop at local markets and grocery stores to buy fresh and affordable ingredients. Many student dormitories and shared apartments come with communal kitchens, making it easy to prepare your meals.


Exploring Turkish cuisine can be a rewarding experience, and cooking at home gives you the opportunity to experiment with traditional dishes like kebabs, börek, and köfte. It's a win-win situation – you save money and learn to cook delicious Turkish food.


6. Explore free and low-cost activities

Istanbul offers many cultural and recreational activities that won't cost you a fortune. Take advantage of these opportunities to enrich your experience without overspending:


Museums and Attractions: Many museums and historical sites offer discounted or free admission to students. Keep your student ID with you and inquire about student discounts.


Study in Istanbul Without Breaking the Bank


Parks and Green Spaces: Istanbul has numerous parks and green areas where you can relax, have a picnic, or enjoy a leisurely walk. The famous Gulhane Park and Emirgan Park are perfect examples.


Student Discounts: Don't forget to explore local businesses that offer student discounts on various goods and services, from clothing stores to restaurants.


Street Markets: Visit local bazaars and street markets for affordable shopping and a glimpse into Turkish daily life.


Festivals and Events: Istanbul hosts various festivals and events throughout the year, many of which are free to attend. Check event calendars to plan your outings.


7. Part-time work opportunities

While studying abroad, you may be eligible to work part-time to supplement your income. Istanbul provides various part-time job opportunities, especially in the tourism, hospitality, and education sectors. International students often find positions as language tutors, tour guides, or in restaurants and cafes. Ensure that you understand the visa regulations and work permit requirements for international students in Turkey before seeking employment.


8. Health insurance

Health insurance is necessary while studying abroad, but it doesn't have to break the bank. Many universities offer affordable health insurance plans for international students. Be sure to research and compare different options to find the most cost-effective plan that meets your needs. Additionally, consider utilizing public healthcare services for routine medical check-ups and non-emergency situations, as they are generally more affordable than private clinics.


9. Language skills

Learning basic Turkish phrases and language skills can help you navigate daily life in Istanbul more efficiently. It can also be a money-saving skill, as you'll be better equipped to communicate with locals and negotiate market prices. You may find job opportunities that require some knowledge of the Turkish language, which can further enhance your financial stability.


10. Financial support and scholarships

Seeking financial support beyond scholarships can make your study abroad experience more affordable. Look for grants, sponsorships, and awards that may be available through your home country's government, international organizations, or private institutions. Additionally, explore crowdfunding options or create a fundraising campaign to gather support from family, friends, and the community.


Your journey to studying abroad in Istanbul can be both academically rewarding and budget-friendly. Proper planning and financial discipline allow you to embrace Istanbul's rich culture and history while keeping some of your money. 


If you’re looking for an opportunity in Turkey, sign up to Educatly and update your profile to get a personalized browsing experience through our programs and unlock a FREE consultation with our educational counselors. They will help you with everything, be it the application, visa, accommodation, and more. You can also check out all our programs in Turkey and select whatever you want!


So, start planning your adventure and get ready for an unforgettable study abroad experience in this captivating city.


Don’t forget to also follow Educatly for more on studying abroad.

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