💼 Bachelor: Electrical and Electronics Engineering
⏳ Sep 2018 — Aug 2022
✅ Student Visa
💰 Fully funded
🤓 41,000 Students
Why I decided to study in Turkey
When I was graduating high school, my plans were to study in Europe or the United States, but my English skills were not strong at the time and the cost was too expensive for my family. Even with a 20% discount, I had to pay $25,000 a year, which was more than twice my father's yearly income. I couldn't afford it and getting scholarships without much knowledge of the process seemed difficult.
I then discovered the Turkey Burslari scholarship, which allowed me to apply to 12 universities in Turkey with a full scholarship. I ended up selecting the University of Akdeniz in Antalya, one of the best cities in Turkey. It turned out to be an amazing experience!
My application and stats
I can not speak about the criteria for choosing the recipients of the Turkey Burslari scholarship, as I noticed some of my classmates who had very high GPAs were not accepted. I don't have the perfect recipe, but I will share my own experience and what helped me get the scholarship.
Firstly, I believe that GPA is a crucial factor as there is high competition among students. I applied with a GPA of 94.5/100. My extracurricular activities also had a great impact on my application. The scholarship requires a lot of diplomas and certifications, and you can use any that you've obtained even in middle school or elementary school. I had a lot of volunteering experiences, including international organizations and I participated in the world youth festival in Sochi in 2017. These activities show that I am a diverse person who can thrive in an international environment.
Next, I submitted my TOEFL (60+) and SAT (1100/1600) results. Although my scores were not high, the fact that I took the exams demonstrated my effort and made an impact on my application.
Lastly, I think it's important to be mindful when choosing the universities to apply to. Instead of only applying to universities in Istanbul and Ankara, as I did, I suggest applying to diverse universities in different cities to increase your chances of acceptance as not all universities are equally competitive. A very convenient thing is that there are no specific requirements or essays required for each university. The whole application process is very straightforward.
I am not sure how the interview is done now, but back in 2018, interviews were done in person. The scholarship is open to applicants from 180 countries, and representatives from Turkey travel to each country to conduct interviews. They usually provide a translator to ensure proper communication, but I already spoke Turkish at the time.
The interview was relatively light, I was asked about my reasons for choosing Turkey, my choice of major, and how it related to my country's needs. They also asked about my hobbies and interests.
I highlighted a specific event in my city - a major electricity breakdown that was happening during the interview period that left half of the city without power during the winter. I talked about how I want to make a change as an engineer and how there is a huge need for this.
Overall, the interview is like any other interview, and it's important to show that you are open-minded and able to adapt to new environments. The only tricky part was that it was scheduled very shortly after being accepted to the next stage of the application process. My advice would be to spend some time reviewing your own application in case you need to clarify anything in particular.
Scholarship & Living Expenses
The scholarship provides full coverage including flights, accommodation, insurance, tuition, and a monthly stipend for living. When it came to my expenses, there was nothing to worry about except paying for the translation of some documents and buying personal items. My university even picked me up from the airport and took me to the dormitory, which I thought was a really nice touch. At the same time, I highly recommend bringing in some initial capital because there will be unexpected expenses such as payments for student cards and for the permanent residence permit, which is around $100.
I got the scholarship four years ago when the world was stable and there was no inflation in Turkey, however, things are slightly different now. In my time, the monthly stipend was $150 per month which was enough for my everyday expenses. I could not afford to buy big things like clothes or shoes, but it was enough to live comfortably in Antalya. However, expenses vary depending on the city. For example, in Antalya, I didn't have to take any transportation as everything is on campus, but in Istanbul, students take the subway and buses twice a day.
Now, after the currency devaluation, the scholarship amount has decreased to around $60-$50. It's not enough for sure. Even though officially you are not allowed to work while receiving the scholarship, students would find ways to earn some extra cash for living expenses or receive support from parents. In my case, I earned a stable income by charging on an hourly basis for tutoring English and Russian languages.
Academics at Akdeniz University
I majored in Engineering and speaking honestly, my university is not the best for studying tech. The strong universities in this field are typically located in Istanbul and Ankara. I would describe my university as average - the classes and laboratories were good, but there were not many extra opportunities for students to dive deeper into the subject matter.
To gain experience, I had to put in extra effort on my own. I reached out to professors and tried to collaborate with them to gain access to extra facilities and resources that the university had. I believe that with enough effort and communication with professors, students can achieve great things; for example, my classmates were building an electric car.
My university schedule typically consisted of three or four classes that lasted from morning to afternoon until 2:30 or 3:00 PM. After classes, I would go back to the dormitory, hit the gym, and hang out with friends later in the evening. Antalya city is incredible, with a lot of activities and places to grab a coffee or a cold drink on the beach. I would then usually come back and study for 1.5 - 2 hours, or more if I had exams coming up. I also enjoyed chatting with my roommates in the evenings. There was definitely a great sense of work-life balance.
The University campus was huge, like a mini-city, and had everything I needed inside. Sometimes I didn't even leave the campus because there were shops to buy groceries and supplies for university. I didn't have to commute between classes and my dorm, which saved me a lot of time.
Final advice for applicants
Many students, like myself, have aspirations to study at universities in countries such as the United States, Canada, or Europe. I understand that this is a common dream for many students, but it is always a good idea to have a backup option. Applying for "safer" scholarships such as those in Turkey can be a smart idea, even if you don't end up going. If you do, it is still an opportunity to study abroad and gain international experience, which can open many doors, as it did for me. I am now working as a Machine Learning Engineer at a startup in Porto, Portugal.
Hi! We are doing an event on this scholarship, you should join if you can: https://borderless.so/events/turkiye-scholarships-all-you-need-to-know