Life in Turkey

Turkish people are the nicest, most hospitable and generous people I have ever met. Reciprocate their friendliness with a smile and equal effort to make a genuine personal connection. Sophia from WA, Year Program
Making friends at school could sometimes be difficult because there was a huge focus on studies and less time for social activities. Rebecca from MO, Year Program
Get in to a few TV shows, it will make bonds with your family AND improve your language skills. Caitilin from NC, Year Program
Be prepared for strict host parents. They care a lot for you and your safety and may say that you have to be home before dark. Take advantage of this situation by hanging out after school until you have to go home; spend the evening connecting with your host family. Caitilin from NC, Year Program
Be adaptable! Turks do not have the same ideas about structuring time and activities that seem commonplace and natural in American culture. It’s important to go along with things and embrace the unexpected.Rebecca from MO, Year Program
Nightlife is very big in Turkey and it was hard staying up very late and then waking up early for school. Mireille from WI, Summer Homestay Program
The way in which people study is extremely different. Everything is geared towards one test that seniors take after they graduate. Max from ME, Year Program
Be very open-minded. Istanbul is more liberal, Ankara is more conservative, and Eastern Turkey is even more conservative. Dress, while important, was not a huge factor. Rebecca from AL, Semester Program
Expect to eat, kiss, and touch a lot. It may seem strange at first but once you get used to it you will be happy. Turks are also really responsive to body language so smile a lot and keep your body language positive and open. Grayce from MN, Year Program
Be prepared to have a close knit family and the overly polite people and TEA!!! I found the family dynamic difficult to adjust to. Jovany from NY, Summer Homestay Program
Be prepared to dress for many different situations, depending on host family and location. Also, if you don't know Turkish at all, learn the basic greeting words. Alexis from NV, Summer Homestay Program

The Essentials

All Programs
Year High School
Summer Homestay
Global Prep

Digging Deeper

Language Resources
Cultural Resources
News and Media
Movies, Documentaries and Television
  • Bal (Honey) (2010)
  • The Butterfly’s Dream (2013)
  •  Vizontele (2001)
  • Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (2011)
  • Paramparça (2014)
  • Magnificent Century (2011)
  • Ezel (2009)
  • The Fall of Leaves (2005)
  • On the Way to School (2008)
  • Turkey—The New Ottomans (BBC 2013)
  • Smyrna: The Destruction of a Cosmopolitan City 1900-1922 (2012)
  • Gallipoli (2005)
  • Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul (2005)
  • Istanbul Unveiled (2013)
  • Lost Songs of Anatolia (2010)
  • Gobeklitepe: The World’s First Temple (2010)
  • Latcho Drom (1993) (focuses on the Romani people)
  • Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations Istanbul (2010)
Books
  • Birds Without Wings
  • My Name is Red
  • Memed, My Hawk
  • Cloud in the Sky (short stories)
  • Ataturk
  • Salonica, City of Ghosts: Christians, Muslims and Jews 1430-1950
  • Istanbul: Memories and the City
  • Meander: East to West, Indirectly, Along a Turkish River
  • Portrait of a Turkish Family
LGBTQ Resources (Diversity) Heritage and Ethnicity Resources (Diversity)
Note: The links and resources listed in "Digging Deeper" have been provided to AFS by people involved with our organization, including alumni members, volunteers, etc. AFS has not reviewed the resources in their entirety and presents them "as is" for your own information. As such, the sites, publications, films, etc. do not necessarily reflect the approval of nor the views, opinions, and/or values of AFS.