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Where to live as a student of Bogazici University

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My name is Louisa, I'm 21 from England and will be moving to Istanbul this September for a year abroad studying at Bogazici University as part of my degree. I am hugely looking forward to it but have a few questions about housing at the moment. I am familiar with Turkey, I travel there a lot with my boyfriend (who is Turkish) yet we've only ever been to Istanbul a couple of times as tourists.

I will be moving with my boyfriend and we will be living together which is helpful as my Turkish is progressing but nowhere near as good enough to negotiate rental contracts at the moment! We've decided we would like a little flat together, studio would be fine, but are confused about where's best. I've had a look  online around Bogazici area but finding it is quite expensive. Are we foolish for looking to find somewhere along the 1500-2000tl mark relatively close to the uni? 

I've heard that a popular student place is Rumeli Hisarustu? Any ideas of prices or a site I can look for student housing? Does anyone know of any other places that might be good to look at. Or if public transport is good enough to live a bit further away. 

We're planning on having a trip to Istanbul around April time to have a good look around but I'd like to get a few ideas in my head. My boyfriend is looking to move in around summer time to find a job and get settled ready for my arrival. 

Any help will be greatly appreciated.

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Louisa, if your boyfriend is Turkish and is from Istanbul you should have no difficulty with rental contracts. Estate agents (emlaks) are frequently conversant in several languages in Istanbul.  I would write both the University AND Robert College which is close by and ask the staff for contacts within the faculty who can advise you about current places convenient to work and which can be affordable. Have you asked if there is a lojman (campus housing) available since you are a one-year student? If you can stay with friends, relatives or a school sponsor (ask if there is one) while you look for a place to stay, then do it. Finding the right place takes time, make sure your Turkish fella comes with you when you negotiate prices and terms and he should also be able to determine if your landlord/lady is going to be difficult or not.

It is true that both Bebek, which is close to Boğaziçi and Arnavutköy close to Robert College are expensive.  That being said, I recommend strongly that you try to live as close to school as possible. Ground transport, at best, is TERRIBLE. You do not want to commute long distances by road. If you do not live too far, you can ask if the school provides a service bus for students and faculty.

Check the current Metro lines and see if there is a Metro stop close enough to walk or take a short bus ride. Students can purchase an Istanbulkart which is discounted per ride for students and teachers. You will need a letter from the school to get the discounted card. I would also consider living on the Asian side, some places there may still be less expensive than the European side. From there you can take a ferry from Kandili to Bebek or Kanlıca to Emirgan or Kanlıca to Anadoluhisar and then Kandili to Bebek. Ferries are a very pleasant public transport to take. (Kanlıcı also has a seaside cafe which serves great yogurt ice cream.)

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I studied at Bogazici too for a while! Etiler/Bebek is quite expensive for a student. Of course the exchange rate for foreigners is high but you could find cheaper. Lots of students live in Besiktas. There are some buses that go from there to Bogazici. Also you can take the metrobus to Zincirlikuyu and then get a bus from there.

There is on campus accommodation in ucaksever campus but its expensive and the rooms are very small. You also have to deal with the rules of who you can invite etc. So I wouldn't advise it.  

As Hobbit has said you could use a 'servis' bus. This is what I used to do. This allows you to live that little bit further. So basically they are private buses which go to certain areas around Istanbul. So some buses will take students to Kagithane, some will take students to Bayrampasa etc. Most of these buses will be waiting in the south campus so when semester starts you should take your boyfriend with you to find a bus that would be suitable for you. A private bus is more expensive compared to public transport but it is less stressful. You will be guaranteed a seat at least. If you use public transport it is very likely that 85% of the time you won't get a seat because the hours you start/finish college are similar to the hours people commute to/from work. 

Don't expect much help from Bogazici's international office. They will help you at the start of the year with documentation and forms for museum cards/Istanbul cards but they won't go out of their way to help you with accommodation. 

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Hi HobbitTR and destiny,

Thank you so much for the helpful advice and suggestions, I feel like I have a bit of ground to walk on now and I'll definitely look into it all. I love the sound of catching a ferry as my daily commute!

Destiny, how was your experience at Bogazici? I'm really excited but don't really know what to expect if you know what I mean...

I know it has amazing views though!

Thanks again for all your help.


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It is a really good university, you will enjoy it. There are lots of foreign students too but make sure you make friends with the Turkish students too as they will be able to help you around and give you tips about what to do etc. Some students can be shy speaking English with a native English speaker but just encourage them :) I miss it now, enjoy it, you will be surprised how the year will fly by!

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  • 4 months later...

I have graduated from Bogazici University on June and am glad that you'll study in there for a while. It's one of the most prestigious universities in Turkey with a high education standards and old historical architecture. It also has a famous campus called South Campus that has a great view. It is the best place to socialize, have fun, and enjoy the festivals. The bad thing is the rent prices in Rumeli Hisarüstü are high  just because it is close to the University and if you had the opportunity to check the apartments, you would know that they are really old and small. Therefore it is not a good idea to stay in Rumeli Hisarüstü.

The other alternatives are Besiktas (as others told) and Mecidiyekoy. You can take a bus which costs like 2-3 tl for each ride and takes 30 minutes to arrive to the campus. Most of the students stay in there because it is cheaper and more central with several transportation options such as ferries, metrobus, metro, and bus.

The cheapest place will be Kadikoy which is located in the Asian side and will be a little far away. It takes 30-50 minutes to arrive the campus, particularly in peak time. Therefore it will be better to take metrobus and metro then. The rent prices are cheaper like 500-1000 tl. The building are old but better than Rumeli Hisarustu area. Kadıkoy is also the centre of Asian side. There are variety of restaurants, cafes, and pubs with authentic atmosphere. 

Hope these will be helpful for you. Enjoy your stay in Istanbul :) 

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I used to live in Çengelköy and found it quite delightful and a lot less expensive than the European side.

I taught in a university near Taksim so I took the morning ferry to Beşiktaş and then a bus to Taksim.

For Bogazici University you can take the Çengelköy to Bebek ferry, a delightful and restive way to travel. It was the best part of my day and with a cup of coffee or çay, sit outside (smoke-free) and watch the sites.  :closedeyes:

(NOTE: These are weekday schedules)

Road travel, anywhere for more than very short distances is to be avoided as much as possible.  :mad:

Once you are enrolled make sure you get an official letter from the university stating you are a student. Then apply for an Istanbul Card for cheap transport all over the city. Teachers and students get big discounts, saved me a bundle. They are good for bus, ferry, tram, rail, and other transport around the city except taxis and dolumş vans.

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