Istanbul, Turkey
Robert College was founded in 1863 as the first
American institution of higher learning outside of the
United States. Founders Dr. Cyrus Hamlin and Mr.
Christopher Rheinlander Robert chose a location at
the top of a hill, overlooking a fortress, Rumeli Hisarı.
This fortress was built by Sultan Mehmet the
Conqueror prior to his conquest of Constantinople in
1453. Scenic overlooks of the Bosphorus, which
connects the Black Sea in the north to the Sea of
Marmara in the south, are located along the
In 1971, Robert College merged with the American
College for Girls and was passed on to the Turkish
government, thus becoming a state university -Boğaziçi University. Robert College is currently a
college preparatory high school. Boğaziçi is Turkish
for “Bosphorus,” so occasionally Boğaziçi University is
referred to as “Bosphorus University.”
Chemical Engineering
Civil Engineering
Computer Engineering
Electrical and Electronics Engineering
Industrial Engineering
Mechanical Engineering
Boğaziçi University is comprised of six campuses. The cornerstone for the first building, Hamlin Hall, was
laid in 1869. The original (South) campus houses the administrative offices in the Rectorate Building as well
as the Office of International Relations and offices of most of the student organizations. Perkins Hall is
home to the Civil, Industrial, and Mechanical Engineering departments within the Faculty of Engineering.
The North campus houses the main library and several engineering programs. The Sciences and Engineering
Building houses the departments of Physics, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Computer
Engineering, Electrical & Electronics Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Nuclear Engineering. The
Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics is in the Park Building.
It is about a 10 minute walk (~600m) between the two campuses. Students can either walk between the two
campuses or, for a small fee, take a minivan shuttle that runs frequently.
Adjacent to the North Campus is the Uçaksavar Campus. This is the location of the “Superdorm,” which
houses many international students. The Superdorm has 130 apartments, accommodating up to 486
students, laundry, grocery store, cafeteria, hair salon, and other amenities.
Boğaziçi University has 11,027 students (8587 undergraduate and 2453 graduate students).
Approximately 460 are exchange students, most (~350) are Erasmus (European) and American (~80-100).
Istanbul is located at the intersection of Europe and Asia
and is very cosmopolitan. Many religions and cultures are
represented including 157 Christian churches, 19
synagogues, 10 monasteries, and about 2500 mosques.
The estimated population of Istanbul is 13 million.
The city is spread along both sides of the Golden Horn
and the Bosphorus, down to and along the shores of the
Marmara Sea. Taking a boat ride along the Bosphorus
will give you a feel for the difference in elevation from the
shore line to the tops of hills (400‘ or 120m at Boğaziçi
University’s South Campus). Be prepared for walking,
stairs, and hills. Do not count on elevators; many buildings
were built before elevators were common.
The official monetary unit is the Turkish Lira (TL). Euros are
also readily accepted. Most of Turkey’s economy is based
in Istanbul including a majority of banks, employment,
source of exports, 1/3 of Turkish companies, and ¼ of the
• Istanbul’s weather is modified by the surrounding water (the Marmara Sea, The Bosphorus,
and the Golden Horn). Turkey is about the same latitude as Iowa. The monthly average
temperatures range from 42°F (5.9°C) in February to 75°F (23.8°C) in July. The monthly
average rainfall ranges from 17.3 Kg/m3 (6.8“) in January to 3.9 Kg/m3 (1.5“) in July.
Istanbul is near the Anatolian Fault, which is where the African and the Eurasian tectonic
plates meet along a line from Northern Anatolia to the Marmara Sea. Several deadly
earthquakes have occurred along this fault line throughout history.
Classrooms and labs are similar to
that found at Iowa State, except for
computer labs. Students who have
attended Boğaziçi University suggest
that you bring your own computer
with you.
Cafeterias are available on campus,
and a variety of small restaurants are
within walking distance of the main
Housing can only be guaranteed for summer since fewer students attend during the summer. During
the fall or spring, about 60% of the exchange students may be accommodated on campus since they
are limited only to dorms that are non-government subsidized. Most American exchange students
that stay on campus stay in the Superdorm on the Uçaksavar Campus. Most European exchange
students find apartments through businesses that cater to students looking for apartments or online
through such sites as Craigslist. Dorm applications are sent to Boğaziçi University at the same time as
applying for study.
The Office of International Relations is
a liaison between Boğaziçi University
and applicants from other countries,
both degree-seeking and non-degree
seeking. Staff in this office provides
information about admission
requirements, the academic calendar,
campus life, and about the universities
with which Boğaziçi University has
exchange programs. They also provide
assistance during the application and
registration processes. International
students, whether degree-seeking or in
a non-degree track, will find important
information at
Travel to Istanbul is available by many airlines; including: Air France, British
Airways, Delta Airlines, Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines; or by European rail. The two
major airports are Atatϋrk (on the European side and 30-40 minutes to Boğaziçi
University) and Sabiha Gökçen (on the Asian side and 1-2 hours to Boğaziçi
University). Atatϋrk is the largest and busiest airport in Turkey. A taxi (Taksi)
can be taken from the airport. US citizens may acquire entry visas after exiting
the plane. You will need $20 in cash to pay for your visa before you would
have access to ATM’s or other monetary services.
Tips for taxis include: Before leaving for Turkey, find out the approximate cost
from Atatϋrk to your destination so that you can agree on the price with the taxi
driver before getting into the vehicle. Be aware that there will be someone
pushing to have the taxis loaded and exiting the airport as quickly as possible.
Fees are per taxi, not per person and start at 250 TL on the meter. Tipping is
not necessary, but rounding the fare up is common practice. Keep an eye on the
meter. If they do not start the meter, use a different taxi. Agree on price (even
approximately) before getting into the vehicle. At the end of the ride, exit the
vehicle before paying. Check meter upon arrival and agree on the amount
before the driver takes the time to get your luggage out for you so that the
meter does not continue to run. Pay for the charges with one hand and receive
change in the other hand at the same time to avoid having your higher bill
replaced with a smaller bill. Some taxis are unlicensed so call for a taxi from a
reputable company or take one waiting at a reputable hotel. Flag down a
passing taxi rather than taking a cab waiting at corners of tourist areas such as
the Grand Bazaar. Be prepared that traffic flows differently from that in the
US, even in large cities.
Besides taxis, travel can be done by bus, subway (Metro), and tram (Hızlı
Tramvay). Be prepared for large crowds using public transportation.
When is the best time to go?
(semester vs. year-long vs. summer)
The fall term begins in mid- to lateSeptember and ends in January. The
spring term begins in February and
ends mid-June. Terms end with two
weeks of final exams. The summer term
runs late June to the first week in
August and is not part of the exchange
program so you would pay tuition to
Boğaziçi University (~$275 per credit
hour). The spring or summer terms are
best for Iowa State students to study at
Boğaziçi, in terms of matching well with
the ISU academic calendar.
Format of courses (credits/modules, grading, lectures/labs)
Assessment typically consists of 1-2 midterm tests and a final in
addition to assignments, quizzes, and projects. Courses in
electrical, chemical, and civil engineering frequently are four
credits since they may include a lab. Others with design content
may also be four credits. Grading is approximately the same as
that at ISU:
ABET evaluators say that instructors at Boğaziçi University are hard
graders. Top students in high school who never earned less than
A’s may only earn C’s at Boğaziçi University. U.S. students
frequently find courses a little more difficult than courses at Iowa
State, so it is not unusual to receive lower grades than expected.
Orientation is held one week before classes begin.
During orientation exchange students will receive ID
numbers and register for classes. Course requests
are submitted on Monday and Tuesday. Various
orientation sessions are held on Wednesday. Online
registration will take place over the weekend.
Exchange students are allowed to take courses in all
faculties. Political Science, languages, and history
are popular so may fill early. Pre-registration is for
summer session only. Each student will have an
advisor assigned from the student’s department.
Members of the Exchange Student Club (ESN) hold
and informal orientation with tours, activities, help
with registration and will match a ‘buddy’ prior to
Check the Boğaziçi University website:
gue.aspx for course descriptions. Many syllabi
are posted online. Some public course times
and syllabi can be found on the registrations
system or on departmental websites.
Sultanahmet Area
• Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Camisi)
• Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya)
• Grand Bazaar (Kapalı Çarşı)
• Hippodrome
• Topkapı Palace Museum (Topkapı
Sarayı Mϋzesi)
• Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan Sarayı)
Outside of Istanbul
• Princes’ Islands (Adalar)
• Bursa
• Edirne
• Troy & Gallipoli
• Ankara
Other areas in Istanbul
• Egyptian Spice Bazaar (Mısır Çarşısı)
• Galata Tower (Galata Kulesi)
• Maiden’s Tower (Kız Kulesi)
• Çirağan Palace (Çirağan Sarayı)
• Ortaköy Mosque (Ortaköy Camisi)
• Beylerbeyi Palace (Beylerbeyi Sarayı)
• Bosphorus Bridge (Boğaz Köprϋsϋ)
• Kucuksu Summer Palace (Kϋçϋksu Kasrı)
• Rumeli Fortress (Rumeli Hisarı)
• Dolmabahçe Palace (Dolmabahçe Sarayı)
• Anatolian Fortress (Anadolu Hisarı)
• Sϋleymaniye Mosque
• Chora Monastery (Kariye Mϋzesi)
• Cruise on the Bosphorus (Istanbul
• Hamam (Turkish Bath)
• Shopping in any of the many small
• Watching artists & craftsmen
• Walk/shop in Beyoğlu along Istiklal
Street from Taksim Square
• Ride the tram
• Antiques
• Visit churches or synagogues
• See various architectural styles
• Visit cultural centers
• See food and fish markets
• Eat & drink with locals
• Visit francophone pubs, cafés, &
• The Turkish & Islamic Arts Museum (Tϋrk ve
Islam Eserleri Mϋzesi)
• Archaeological Museums of Istanbul (Istanbul
Arkeoloji Mϋzeleri)
• Jewish Museum (Musevi Mϋzesi)
• Kϋçϋk Ayasofya (Church of the Saints
Sergius and Bacchus)
• Istanbul Modern Museum (Istanbul Modern)
• Pera Museum (Pera Mϋzesi)
• Sadberk Hanim Museum ( Sadberk Hanim
• Maritime Museum (Deniz Mϋzesi)
• Florence Nightingale Museum (Florence
Nightingale Mϋzesi)
• Depot Museum (Depo Mϋzesi)
• Military Museum (Askeri Mϋze)

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