To all future exchange students…

Studying at Bogaziçi University has by far, been one of the greatest experiences of my four years college and easily one of the best decisions I have ever made. I would do it again in a heartbeat, and I strongly support any exchange student’s desire to attend the institution. With that said, you are in for a hell of a lot bureaucracy on the paperwork side and living in general- with little to no help from the university foreign affairs administration. Here is a list of everything I wasn’t told and learned through the process (and the order in which that you should tackle them). You’re welcome. 🙂

  • Short-Cut Links (*All links  below are active, despite the fact that they are not highlighted. Message me if you encounter any problems!)










  • The Visa Process
  • Obtaining a Student Visa
    • Do this in the States, before you go @ your nearest Turkish embassy. Rules are constantly changing so I won’t go into major details bc they may be obsolete by the time you need this but here are some helpful links.
    • Necessary to enter & obtain a Residence Permit.
  • Obtain a 90 day Multiple-Entry Tourist e-Visa
    • Allows you to travel to other countries during your stay here within a 90 day interval
    • Technically, if you overstay, it is illegal and there are fines which increase for each day beyond the 90. This counts only days spent within the borders of the country. Time traveled outside of TR (during the valid period of the visa) will be deducted.
    • For me this only posed a problem in two instances:
      • 1. When trying to visit the Greek island Melios from the Turkish coast after I had exceeded my time by 8 days.
      • 2. When trying to compete in the Turkish Track Championships.
      • Note: Exiting the country, I was asked for my residence permit, after the official noted that my 90 day tourist visa had expired. I handed over my student (rather than residence) card and spoke only in the little Turkish I knew. Waved through without fee. 🙂 However, I do know others though who were less lucky. If you go this route, it’s a gamble.
  • Housing
    • I would recommend against living in Superdorm. It is mostly Americans, a little bit more of a walk if most of your courses are held in South Campus, and ridiculously expensive. Most students live in Hisarüstü, in sub-letted flat rooms found via Craiglist or through these facebook groups:
      • Bogaziçi Housing
      • We Love Istanbul
      • Erasmus Istanbul
      • Questions you should ask:
        • Do you smoke?
        • Single or mixed gender apartment?
        • How many people currently living there &/or paying rent?
        • Distance from Campus?
        • Do you have a washing machine?
        • What kitchen amenities?
        • Direct Sunlight? (Mold can be an issue)
        • Specific address?
        • Which campus is the apartment closest too?
        • Do they have a boyfriend/girlfriend? And if so, will they be spending a lot of time there?
        • Is there a nearby grocery store/market? (*Important. While eating out is easy and relatively cheap, many of the dishes are bread based and after a few weeks, you will be craving anything green. When I do decide to cook, the convenience of being able to pick up ingredients on your walk home is very great.)
    • Skype the person you’re renting from before deciding.
    • The closer to campus you get, the lower quality room for the price. You’re paying for location, not quality. Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t bargain your way into both. 850 TL including utilities is the max you should pay, even for the closer location. Depending on what the asking price is, offer 650-700 TL to start and see where that takes you.
    • If you’re fine with a bit of a walk, you can find a decent room for 600, 650 TL (price typically doesn’t include utilities  so add about 80TL). A fully decked apartment goes for about +1000 TL, but that’s a bit pricy compared to what most students will spend.
  • Flights
    • Atatürk International Airport.
      • Best to fly into for your first time as it will save you crossing the Marmara
    • Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen International Airport
      • Great for domestic flights ( Pegasus, Onur Air, etc.)
      • Sometimes cheaper than Atatürk Airport, just research and see what’s best.
  • Transportation to/from Airport
    • 1) Havataş Shuttle:
      • 14 TL fare one way
      • Closest stops are Taksim (if coming from Atatürk) or Levent (from Sabiha)
      • Options from Taksim:
        • Havataş + Metro. Havataş will likely drop you off in front of The Point hotel. Walk sw to the restaurant on the corner, turn right and go north a block until you see the open square with the statue in the center. The metro entrance is down a randomly placed escalator on the northern side of the square. Just ask. People are nice. 🙂
        • Metro the remainder to Boğaziçi. (M2 to Levant, M6 to Boğaziçi).
      • HavataşTaxi. A fare from Taksim should be no more than 25 TL
    • 2) Metro (from Airport to Boğaziçi)
      • From Atatürk take M1a, at end of line change to Yenıkapı M2, get off at Levant & change to M6 line. Arrive in Hisarüstü (neighborhood of Boğaziçi).
    • 3) Taxi (from Airport to Boğaziçi)
      • Ridiculously expensive, especially as you will be right off the plane with all of your luggage. While this option will take you from A to B with minimal thought, expect to be charged blind if you take this option.
      • If you do decide to try this method, make sure you have a flight that lands in daylight.
    • 4) What I did: taxied Sultanahmet region, spent a night there to collect myself and bused the rest of the way.
      • Note: To access any public services (metro, bus, public restrooms if you find one) you will need an ‘Istanbulkart’ which cost 7 TL to buy plus whatever amount you fill the card with.
  • Student Transportation Card
    • 10 TL to register, but once you have it transportation is about half the cost it would be otherwise. Also, go to Karakoy in person. If the Study Abroad Office says they’re taking a trip ‘tomorrow’ with all of the forms DO NOT succumb to temptation to this seemingly reasonable offer like I did. It will be weeks. You are on Turkish time now.
    • Take bus 43R leaving from across the South Gate. A few doors south of the mini liquor shop.
  • Boğaziçi Student Card
    • This you do not have to apply for but know that it will also be weeks before you will receive it. Opportunities  including student discounts ‘oğrenci indirim,’ admission to BÜ parties, and museum card registration available to you once you have this card. If you do not, you will be asked for you Student Transportation Card (which may take awhile to arrive) or your Admission Letter as proof. Make the Transportation Card your first priority. There’s nothing you do to speed up the process with the Student Card. Also, once you get your student card there are two cafeterias (one on North Campus, one on South Campus) where you can eat a full meal plus dessert for 1.50 TL.
    • Loading the Student Card:  (a small process, but not too bad).
      • Can  only be loaded at the green Granata ATM’s
      • Regardless of whatever instructions they give you press 9 first, and it will translate everything into English.
      • You can only load the card with cash, but they do give back change.
      • Don’t put more than 40 or 50 TL on the card. That amount will carry you far. It’s also only valid at the two Cafeteria’s.
  • Museum Card
    • Free admission to Museums, Ruins, and National Parks. (Hagia Sophia, Dolmabache, etc.) Will save you a ton of money!
    • Works outside of Istanbul
    • With proof of your enrollment (Acceptance Letter, Student ID, Student Bus Card) go to any major historic site and ask to buy.
    • Initial cost 20 TL
    • The Hagia Sophia is most commonly referenced as a place to go buy this, but the Rumeli Hisar Fort is just down the hill from the University. I think I even bought mine in Pamukkale. It works just about everywhere.
  • Registering for Classes
    • Select your courses.
    1. When planning your courses don’t plan too closely in advance, as they drastically change from semester to semester.
    2. Bogaziçi Website:
    3. To find available courses
      1. select “English” next to the search bar
      2. select “Students” on the side bar which will take you here:
      3. Select the blue “Registration” Box
      4. To get into anything listed under students you will need your login information given a scrap of paper that looks like this [____] but if you look under General Services you can find the schedule. If the link has yet to might change by the time you need this, you will find it here:
    4. Have all of your course to logged into the server on the dot. If they say 10:00, be logged in, have your course typed in the boxes, and the cursor over “Quick Add” because classes fill up within minutes.
    5. For the courses that are accepted, click “Send to Approval” to officially add the course.
    6. For those that are rejected, don’t worry. Send a consent form (available on the page) and wait for an e-mail back. If none comes, sit in the class you want anyway, and add it on the second round of add/drops the second week of the semester. Nothing is ever set in stone, and if you need the course there are always ways.
    • Alternative Option: Buy a Turkish Phone. The downside is initial cost is pricier, and you have to carry two phones but so you save so much hassle.
      • In hindsight, would recommend just buying a Turkish Phone on arrival.
      • Phone companies= Turkcell, Avea, or Vodaphone
      • An average monthly phone plan (data, txts, calls) is about 30 TL regardless of which option you decide.
  • Residency Permit
    • Create an appointment:
    • Make your appointment as soon as possible!!! (I believe to the Police station in Fatih (?) I would double check)
    • Necessary if you are staying longer than 90 days, and planning to re-enter after traveling mid-semester.
    • Useful Links:
    • Considering the process was fairly convoluted, and because I entered on a multiple entry tourist visa I opted to travel within that range, and just bite the fine on the other end. Similar cost money wise. While I had originally intended to go the permit route, the earliest appointment available was April 22. This would mean that I would not have access to my passport during my spring break travels. Not ok.
    • I would recommend getting the permit if possible. And if you are staying the full year, especially. But book your appointment before you leave for Turkey.
    • *your health insurance must be notarized & translated. International Student Affairs Office will not tell you this. I used my friend’s turkish roommate. You can reach her at if she is still in the area. I wouldn’t panic though, as with every other process they are not too picky. They just want to see the the gov is not financially liable for you in the event of any emergency.

Miscellaneous School Info:

  • Creating a School E-mail
    • This might not seem important initially, but you will be unable to access the campus Eurodam Wifi without this password. BounWifi is free but spotty, and unavailable on certain campus study spots.
  • When should I arrive?
    • This is another element they may or may not tell you. If you know the dates of pre-orientation, show up a week before then. You can double check by scanning the posts of other foreign exchange students arrival times based off of the fb housing posts.
      • Don’t be [too] concerned if your acceptance letter doesn’t arrive on time. Consider this your first warning to ‘the system.’
  • A word about Mailing… 
    • Don’t. However if you absolutely need something small sent to you, use The University Address:

Boğaziçi University 
Office of International Relations 
South Campus 
OFB Building 
34342 TURKEY

2 thoughts on “BOĞAZİÇİ

    1. I didn’t recieve my acceptance letter until mid January, just before I left for the spring semester. Many advisors will often tell their students to wait to buy their plane tickets until after they’ve recieved the letter, but I’m happy I didn’t haha. Are you waiting now?


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