I am Aleksander Kote, student of the Civil Engineering Department at Epoka University. I had the greatest chance to participate in an exchange program consisting of one semester of regular studies at Istanbul Technical University, which is one of the best universities in Turkey and elsewhere. This experience made me understand many new things and taught me a different way of living and managing things. I felt very comfortable during my stay in Istanbul and I enjoyed every single moment there. I would like to share with you a tiny part of my whole adventure, as a short text is not enough to include all the program:
Being an ITU student means being mixed with many people from different countries of the entire world. This fact was able to create the best atmosphere ever, as everyone could feel himself very special and attractive. People in this university were very friendly, war and communicative. Personally, I understood that all the members of that institution were helpful and active during the whole time. Everybody could find a welcoming environment and could get used to it very fast.
Regarding the academic part of the university, ITU was a completed educational place to all aspects. I was a student of the second year, during fall semester, and I attended a few professional courses, but I had the possibility to see the enormous Civil Engineering Laboratories and do many experiments related to our lectures. The professors were respectful and pretty much qualified with a very fluent and academic English language, The Turkish Educational system was so similar with the one in Epoka University, so I found myself very familiar with everything in there. I had no difficulties in finding suitable courses, or attending all the classes. Studying in Istanbul Technical University was very motivating and inspiring at the same time. Reading many books and lectures at the gorgeous library inside the campus was one of the most valuable opportunities. That peaceful place was the exact ambient that a student would deserve to study.
ITU doesn’t mean only lessons and exams, but it could give us a lot of entertainment. That big campus contained many sportive places including basketball, tennis, volleyball, beach volleyball, rugby courts, and the best of all it had an Olympic Swimming Pool. These were not enough as you could take part in different trainings or activities organized by different social clubs. Students could sit and relax in the green parks, or in the nice and quiet bars and restaurants inside the campus. Food was pretty good and delicious and everyone could eat a huge meal in the large dining hall by spending an inconsiderable amount of money.
After all these, now it is time to tell you the best part: travelling. When I was in Istanbul I travelled all the touristic and attractive places. I enjoyed every special and unique characteristic of that beautiful city. Being a student in Turkey provides you with many facilities. Using the student card, I could go everywhere with discount prices: museums, fun parks, cinemas, theatres, transportation etc. I loved that place, I loved the sea, the hills the forests, the big parks, the wonderful views, ancient areas, historical buildings, talented people beside the sidewalk singing or playing the instruments, but most of all I loved winter in Istanbul, I have just a few words. Too much snow, fun and memories.
One of the best part there was friendship. I felt very lucky to meet very good friends from all over the world: Turkey, Kosovo, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Palestine, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Germany, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and people from many other nationalities. This fulfilled all the pieces of the colorful mosaic created in that experience.
Joining these spectacular programs would add an unforgettable souvenir in everyone’s life and would make him desire more and more, because these adventures give a real meaning to our routine. Even why you could feel a bit suspicious and afraid in the beginning , don’t hesitate to apply and enrich you future with gold memories.
I am an Architecture student and I have just completed a semester as an exchange student at Middle East Technical University. I wanted to share my personal experience with the other students of our university. First of all this experience has been very important and unique to me in many aspects.
METU is the largest campus in Ankara, Turkey, and what made me feel comfortable was the student life generating there. All the student clubs were very active and from what I noticed everyone had the opportunity to practice and evolve their passions and hobbies beside of the academic part. But even out of the campus I really liked and enjoyed Ankara, which was a very nice city.
I feel lucky that I had the chance to study in METU because of its high level of educational system. I found there a very welcoming environment because of the staff and also the students where the system was actually quite similar to our university and the professors were highly qualified. I took the chance of taking not only must courses that are crucial to my educational profile but I also had the opportunity to take other courses which were fun and quite specific.
During my experience I also travelled to other cities, Istanbul and Cappadocia were two of the best and most beautiful places of Turkey. I saw all the potentials and beauties that I previously had heard about. One important thing was meeting so many people from different nationalities such as Colombian, German, Spanish, Austrian, Morocco and also including here friends from Palestine or Syria who are experiencing tough conditions and hearing about their lives had a huge impact. There was also a large number of Albanians and I had a great time.
So experiencing this exchange period has to do not only with the lectures and improving your work rendimeent but it has to do with interacting and getting to know new people, places, cultures which have a huge impact and I could realize that each time I have something new to learn.
In winter 2015 I had the opportunity to go on an exchange program to Istanbul University in Turkey. I would have to admit that this experience exceeded my expectations both academically and personally.
Being in a big campus where there is a variety of students, national or international, full time or exchange, made me change my point of view about doing a Masters program abroad. This experience made me realize there are so many opportunities for us students to be a global citizen and try new things without hesitation. The most important part about my experience was the welcoming in the right way from classmates, professors and the whole community. The professors were very helpful and I would have to say they taught me a lot considering it was just one semester.
Turkey is not on the mind of many students when they think about an exchange, but in my opinion there is no better place. They don’t call Istanbul one of the most beautiful cities in the world for nothing. And while you might think our cuisines are similar, you will be surprised with the variety of traditional, delicious and unique dishes you will try.
Lastly I would like to express my immense gratitude to Epoka University for this opportunity and I strongly believe that no matter where you go, participating in an international academic exchange program is an essential part of University life. And so I encourage you to do your research, apply, and prepare for the adventure of a lifetime and enjoy every moment to the fullest because soon you will return home and you’ll wish to go back and do it all over again.
(Business - Informatics Program)
My personal experience as an exchange student in Mainz, Germany, was the best I could have ever imagined for a number of reasons. I learned how to live for half a year among the people of the most developed and well organized countries in Europe, being independent and at the same time fully responsible.
Especially living in a student-friendly city such as Mainz was a great opportunity to make friends from the five continents of the world. There were numerous sports, cultural and academic events in the university campus where you just needed to organize your schedule if you wanted to participate in all of them.
On the other hand, the courses were very useful for the economic part of my degree in Business Informatics. The professors explained theories relating them to the practices of the most successful multinational companies whose headquarters where located in Frankfurt, just a few minutes far from Mainz.
Moreover Germany is at the heart of Europe so you get the amazing chance to be so close to its neighboring countries. France, Switzerland, Austria, Netherlands, Poland, Belgium are reachable only within a few hours! Travelling so easily -without having to go through passport control, visiting museums for free thanks to your student card - really gives you an insight on the benefits of being part of the European Union. Visiting Paris with my friends was a dream that I totally enjoyed making it a reality.
All in all, the most important thing that I learned as an exchange student was that: opportunities are infinite out there in the world for you. Understanding the ways how to take advantage of them will definitely help me choose the best path for my future education and professional career.
I am Enkela Krosi, student of the Architecture Department at Epoka University. I am going to share with you some of my experience while being in the exchange program, during spring 2014. As soon as I learned about the exchange opportunity, I did the application to one of the best universities in Turkey, Istanbul Technical University. I completed there one semester in the Architecture program, and I can say that I found myself too familiar to the environment and educational aspects of ITU. Because of the education and preparations we take here in our university we can easily adapt to most of the universities around.
So here I can shortly tell some experience of mine, being ITU student, and being in Istanbul…
In ITU I found a warm and active environment. The staff and the students welcomed us, they were friendly and helpful. In the architecture program we had the studio project’s site in Eskisehir, so we had a group trip and experienced some days there. We did all necessary analysis needed for our concept and project development. Also I had the Restoration course where the main work was about “Balat” district from which I developed my concepts in that field.
Meanwhile, I traveled around Istanbul and look with a different point of view to that wonderful city, where the sea, the hills, the history, the culture and the youth are living in symbiosis. I felt the harmony and beauty in each street, in each historical building, all the museums and arts, the food and the language, the Marmara Sea, the birds and the artists singing and painting around. I found Istanbul in such a way, like a collage of the colorful oriental culture with the energy and progress of the youth. It was amazing!
One of the most important points: I had many friends there, Turkish and international, from Italy, Portugal, Austria, Azerbaijan, Iran, Syria and Africa. I also met Albanian and Kosovo friends there. All together we shared our experiences about where we have been and what are our perspectives. We did team works, visited many places around, and we always shared new ideas and beautiful moments together.
So, from my experience I could easily find the words to tell you the benefits of being an exchange student. It is not about where you go, even caring too much for higher scores (grades), but it is all about the experience! The crucial thing is that, as soon as you get this opportunity, you should evaluate it in the best way and plan for the best days. What is the best of being in exchange program, you will understand after you get back home. But that’s why we are here to share our experiences, so you can get a better point of view before you go there.
Being an exchange student in a better university is not to get “closed” home and read and work too much to reach a certain level or to have the best transcript. It is about to experience everything there: the team works, the workshops, all small events, all the small places around, the streets, to walk and get familiar to that place, to your closed people and friends around you. So, it is about “sharing”! That’s the way you gain more: different people, different culture, and different concepts. I think this is one of the best ways we can invest about ourselves. Not just in our profession, but also in our intellectual and individual development.
Once you experience it, you will wish for more.
(Business - Informatics Program)
This was my first time as an exchange student. Firstly I had doubts about my choice to go in Germany or in Turkey but now I have to say that I am happy for the choice I have done. Living in a country like Germany was a new experience for me. I learned a lot from the everyday life there. I met people from all around the world, from places that I had no idea before. It was so easy to communicate with all of them. This was the best thing I learned, despite the fact that we come from different countries with different culture, languages, traditions, we are not so different in our thoughts and it isn’t difficult to make friends. I learned a lot about others and their style of life and I also gave them information about Albania.
I would say that learning in a Germany University was the best thing I experienced there but when I got to know the people and when I learned so many new things I understood that this was the best part of exchange period.
(Banking and Finance Program)
When it comes to making decision for your education is never easy, especially when it comes in choosing the country you will live in. Choosing Turkey, practicing a whole new language, living for four months in the capital of the world, Istanbul, and visiting the most historical and beautiful places was more than what I was expecting when I first made my application. Fatih University is one of the best universities in Istanbul with well prepared students, a wonderful campus, well organized activities and most importantly very professional staff. Studying abroad develops you as a person. It is not only about the independence, experiencing something new, or meeting people, but also about shaping your character; encouraging you in taking different and more mature steps for your education and career, and most importantly it helps you see the world in different perspective compared to before.
Thank you Epoka University for giving me this opportunity.
(Business - Informatics Program)
Everything changed the moment I left Tirana. I learned there to live alone, in a place where I knew no one. I learn to go and make everything by myself, documents and so on. I had friends from all around the world; I learned to stay with different cultures, to adapt sometimes when necessary to their culture. What is the most important I learned to collaborate and to work with them. Life there had no relation with the one in here. I had to work as a volunteer during day and night. It is very hard to explain life in there, because it is not easy to understand.
This experience gave me the opportunity to move around Europe and not only Germany, which helped a lot in understanding cultures of these countries.
At the end of this wonderful journey I had to make a presentation about a subject we had in front of the President of the University, and also in front of many German dignitaries. Making a presentation was easy for me because I am used to it even here at my home university, but in front of these different people and in front of national newspapers was really a great and rare experience.
(Banking and Finance Program)
Since the beginning, one of the reasons why I chose Epoka University was the fact that there were different possibilities to go and participate in wonderful exchange programs. It was very challenging and interesting the idea of going and studying for some time abroad.
So for the semester of fall ’13, I applied and was accepted in Fatih University, Istanbul.
According to my opinion, it is a great chance that will bring into your life the opportunity to see many beautiful places in Turkey, make amazing new friends, and create memories that will last far after you return home. You will be able to compare and spot the differences between culture traditions, lifestyle and as a result you will improve yourself because you will learn to open your mind and feelings, letting no place for judgment and being scared. Fatih University‘s location offers a great view and the campus is quite big and wonderful. The same goes for the academic staff, as they always are most willing to help you. It certainly in the beginning doesn’t start as an easy experience, but it is one I wouldn't trade for anything.