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classiqueP29 Jun 14th, 2007 06:52 AM

Istanbul vs. Ankara
This might be an unconventional post/inquiry, but I intend to study abroad in Turkey Spring of 2008 and am having trouble deciding between Ankara and Istanbul. Both universities (Bosphorous and Bilkent Univ) that I would be attending are excellent and a nonissue. For those who have been there, I was just wondering how the cities' atmospheres compare? Such as attitudes towards foreigners, cultural opportunites, sites, etc. Is one location preferable for access to the rest of the country and beyond? Thanks for any information and your help!

aeiger Jun 14th, 2007 01:31 PM


classiqueP29 Jun 14th, 2007 01:51 PM


travelbunny Jun 14th, 2007 02:16 PM

Istambul. It is much more interesting. Ankara is a relatively modern city with a small old core where as Istambul has incredible history. Plane connections are easy..Istambul wins hands down IMO.

alanRow Jun 14th, 2007 02:31 PM

It's the difference between San Francisco or Sacramento, Rio de Janeiro or Brasilia, Sydney or Canberra

nancy Jun 14th, 2007 05:24 PM

If there are no other considerations, definitely Istanbul. There is so much to see there altho' you will probably cover it all within your semester. Attitudes re foreigners are no problem.

Ankara is a typically large city with all the high-rises you see elsewhere. Other than the great Museum of Anatolian History and Ataturk's tomb I frankly don't have much of an impression (except that when I was there 11 yrs ago there were none of these high-rise offices).

Be sure to take a weekend trip to Cappadocia - it is the most amazing landscape on earth. I so wish they hadn't filled this area with vendor shops!! :-( But, still it should not be missed.

wintersp Jun 14th, 2007 06:50 PM

Istanbul is my vote. Reasons - more diversity, more history, more character, actually, more of everything - never boring. I wasn't taken with Ankara - and I visited the old city. Istanbul is the center of transportation-very easy to visit all of Turkey from there.

Grcxx3 Jun 14th, 2007 07:19 PM

another vote for Istanbul.

Kate_W Jun 14th, 2007 10:22 PM

Oh, what a lucky person you are! I'd love to spend a semester in Turkey.

I have not been to Bilkent University but I spoke at a conference at Bosphorus University - and it's gorgeous! I vote for Bosphorus. It is on a hillside, overlooking the Bosphorus, set in lovely grounds, etc.

I've been both to Ankara and Istanbul about half a dozen times in the last two years for a research project in the business sector. I think you will find that in both cities, Turks are very welcoming (they are some of the most hospitable people I've ever met), very curious about you, very interested in what is going on in the world, very gregarious, etc. You cannot go wrong with either choice.

If you are unaccustomed to big city life, you might find Istanbul somewhat overwhelming. It is a VERY large, sprawling city and it can be difficult to get from one section to another (traffic jams, complex combination of limited public transportation with minibuses etc). Ankara is also spread out, but I find it easier to get around. If your accommodation is on campus or very close to it in Istanbul though, then traffic, crowds etc wouldn't be a daily source of stress for you.

I think Istanbul, though, has a lot more character and a lot more living history to see. Also a lot more going on in terms of social life, etc. Istanbul is preferable for its access to the rest of the country and beyond.

Will you learn some Turkish before you go? It is a fascinating language. I tried to learn some Turkish to help me with my project but didn't have a lot of success with self-study programmes. But if there are any courses on offer near you, I would recommend it. Although many of the young people you'll meet, professors and others will speak English (often, excellent English), many of the other people you'll encounter in daily life won't, so elementary or intermediate Turkish will open a lot of doors for you.

baldrick Jun 14th, 2007 11:05 PM

Hi, there is a small joke in Turkey that goes like this:
- Do you know what is the best moment in Ankara?
- Yep, it's when you leave for Istanbul...

That says it all...

classiqueP29 Jun 15th, 2007 04:27 AM

Kate W, I intend to learn some Turkish before I go and will have a two week orientation for either study abroad program that requires one to study both verbal and written Turkish over the course of the semester to help us get around!

Where is Bosphorous Univ in relation to the rest of Istanbul?

Thanks so much for everyone's input!

Kate_W Jun 15th, 2007 10:18 AM

There isn't really a centre, or downtown, in Istanbul. Bosphorus University overlooks the Bosphorus, which divides the European side of Istanbul from the Asian side. It's quite far from Ataturk airport and, if I recall, about a 25 minute car ride from Taxim Square (the closest to what might be called the centre of the city). It is relatively close to some very desirable parts of town, because the waterfront (certainly along the European side but also along the Asian side) is very desirable.

propertravel Jun 16th, 2007 02:15 PM

Istanbul has a lot more to offer you, however costwise Ankara could be more beneficial. Traveling wise Istanbul has a lot more to offer. Both universities are Top quality.
Good Luck,

richardab Jun 16th, 2007 02:24 PM

I'd go to Berkeley.

propertravel Jun 17th, 2007 01:28 AM

Berkeley in Istanbul or the one in Ankara ?


richardab Jun 17th, 2007 02:30 PM

Berkeley, in Berkeley.

emerald013 Jun 18th, 2007 07:55 AM

Hands down Istanbul. Ankara ıs a relatıvely new place where Ataturk moved the capıtal sınce Istanbul was too full of hıstory and tensıon and engraıned culture and everythıng else that comes wıth an ancıent crossroads of the world... excellent nıghtlıfe too. Not to mentıon that ıt ıs pretty beautıful.

amandakay00 Jun 20th, 2007 04:36 PM

Istanbul!! I'm living here at the moment (21 yrs old) and loving it. This is my third time here and it just doesn't get old. The Bosphorus Univ. is in an amazing location- in or right outside of Bebek: one of my favorite areas. It has beautiful scenery (obviously) and wonderful cafes. I ate lunch the other day at a small restaurant called Happily Ever After- by far the loveliest place I have ever eaten. The univ. is not too far from Taksim- nightlife, shops, and restaurants- maybe 20 min. by bus. I don't own a car here so I rely on public transportation. One factor to keep in mind is the traffic. I've sat in bumper to bumper traffic at 2am on the highway on a Friday night. Allow plenty of time to get where you're going. I'm rambling now-- if you have any other questions please email me at [email protected].

KatraS Jun 21st, 2007 02:59 AM

one more vote for Istanbul. I was born in Kayseri and I live in Istanbul now. I really love it. I travel to Ankara many times but Istanbul is much more better than Ankara

angorapatty Jun 21st, 2007 04:19 AM

I live in Ankara and enjoy it. There are plenty of clubs, restaurants, theatres, etc to stay busy and the traffic is much less of a headache, but still stressful. Cappadoccia is a three to four hour drive and great for a weekend. That being said, I have many friends and co-workers who love Istanbul and try to get over there as often as they can. For a college student, I would say you would enjoy Istanbul more. No matter what you decide, have a great time in Turkey!


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