Somalia’s public works, reconstruction and housing minister, Sadiq Abdullah Abdi, recently announced that Turkey is the primary study abroad destination for young Somali students.
In an article on Yeni Şafak, he said, “Even if they are offered the United States or the West, they don’t choose them. Right now, they all prefer to study here, in Turkey.”
Currently, about 1,000 Somali students study in Turkey in “all fields” including medicine, engineering, and agriculture.
Abdi said, “Turkey has transformed Somalia like never before, from education to development to infrastructure development. And most importantly boosted trade ties.”
Abdi also studied in Turkey, earning his master’s degree in electronics and electrical engineering at Ankara’s Middle East Technical University in 2006. He said that Turkey became a “home away from home” for him and noted that Turkey’s high educational quality, its social structure, and cultural values “attract international students, especially from Somalia.”
Higher Education in Turkey
Higher education at universities includes bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral degrees. In addition to the master’s degree, a Higher Engineering Diploma is also awarded which is the equivalent of a master’s degree. Both degrees require a thesis be completed and defended. Universities are divided into two types, with 104 state universities and 62 private universities. Turkish universities are held in high regard, with 5 schools in the top 400 world-wide, according to the 2012 Times Higher Education World University Rankings.
Why Study in Turkey?
Students pursuing master’s degrees in any academic discipline will find a safe, welcoming and rewarding multicultural environment that is a bridge between western and middle-eastern cultures. Turkish higher education institutions are known for high quality relative to low tuition and many programs are taught in English. Non-English speaking students who attend traditional programs will also find many opportunities to learn the English language as they complete their primary studies.
Universities in Turkey
Programs at state universities are generally taught in Turkish, although some programs are taught in English, German or French. Students not proficient in Turkish who enter Turkish programs can take one year of language training before pursuing their studies. Most international programs are taught at private universities, where the language of instruction is mostly English. Private universities are also known as foundation universities.
Currently about 30,000 international students are enrolled in education programs in the country; however, Turkey has a goal to increase that number to 150,000. Although most academic disciplines are available, popular programs for international students are International Relations, Eastern Mediterranean Studies, Multicultural Affairs Studies, Engineering, Business Management and Hospitality.
Tuition and Program Duration
Tuition per semester at state universities where instruction is in Turkish is about $100-$200 (US) for Turkish nationals and students from Azerbaijan, Bashkortostan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dagestan, Karachay-Cherkessia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Mongolia, Moldova, Nakhchivan, Uzbekistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Tartarstan, Turkmenistan, and Ukraine. International student tuition per semester at state universities where instruction is in Turkish is about $300-$600 (US). Tuition is about 1.5 to 2 times higher at state institutions where instruction is in English.
Annual tuition at foundation universities is typically $6,000 (US) to $20,000 (US); however, foundation universities also provide many students with scholarships that cover 30 to 40 percent of their tuition.
Most master’s degrees take two years to complete, but this varies by program and institution.
To help defray costs, international students may find employment with a university as a researcher; however, international students do not have a right to work in other organizations within the public or private sector.
The academic year in Turkey is based on two semesters and runs from October until June.
After graduation, international students may find opportunities for employment as researchers or on the staff at universities, especially universities with programs taught in English. Turkish students and international students with good Turkish language skills will find opportunities available in other industries as well. Non-Turkish citizens will need to obtain a work permit once they have been offered a job.
International students must have a student visa, and the visa must be obtained before arriving in Turkey or the student will not be allowed to enroll at a university. Students must have been accepted to a Turkish university before applying for the student visa at a Turkish consulate in their home country. The process takes about 8 weeks and the student’s passport will be stamped with the student visa once approved.
All universities offer free health care at their medical facilities. However, this care is generally limited to emergency services and treatment for minor conditions, so international students are encouraged to purchase health insurance to cover other medical expenses that may arise. The policy should cover both European and Asian Turkey. Many private insurance policies are available in Turkey.
Students holding a residency permit for more than 6 months will also be registered at the Turkish Social Security Institution (SGK) and are required to obtain and pay for a local health insurance policy.