Turkish Study Abroad

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A Guide to Learning Turkish Abroad

Merhaba ve hoşgeldin! Not sure what that means? It might be time to brush up or learn to speak Turkish! While learning Turkish might sound intimidating, an intensive language course abroad would allow you to connect with native speakers skilled in turning your language fears into communication skills. And what better way to dive into a new (or semi-familiar) language than by immersing yourself in the heartland of Turkish language and culture? If you’re interested in connecting with the over 75 million Turkish speakers around the world, consider an intensive Turkish language lessons today!


With nearly 1% of the world speaking the Turkish language, it’s no wonder that there is a wide variety of locales around the globe you can visit in order to take your Turkish language skills to the next level.

If you are looking to truly learn and perfect your Turkish abilities, what better place to spend a few weeks (or months) taking Turkish language lessons in Turkey? Its capital, Istanbul, has a few programs to choose from, affording you unparalleled access to Native speakers both through class and by connecting with the local community. This vibrant cosmopolitan, which is home to the Hagia Sophia, was selected as 2010’s European Capital of Culture, helping to boost its ranking to the #5 world tourist destination.

If Turkey feels a bit too far for you or you’re not quite ready to completely immerse yourself when taking Turkish language courses, consider some of the language programs available in the United States. Several institutes around the U.S. offer courses for individuals seeking to augment their Turkish skills, most of which are taught by Native speakers.

Interested in venturing out of your comfort zone, maybe learning two languages at once, and eating kabobs on the reg? Check out Turkish language programs in Germany, which contains its own small communities of Turkish speakers. Experience all that Berlin has to offer, everything from its rich and important historical significance to its incredible nightlife, all while perfecting your dil becerileri (that is – language skills).

Turkish Language Courses

Turkish language courses abroad more often than not feature native language speakers instructing individuals at various skill levels as they gain a better understanding of the Turkish language. The type of program you choose will really depend on how you learn best and your budget.

Are you someone who thrives in a group environment? If you are looking to connect with and learn from your peers, consider taking small group Turkish language classes. These classes typically range in size from five to fifteen students, and meet anywhere from two to ten times a week. While some classes will meet for about 45 minutes at a clip, others will span upwards of an hour and a half.

On the flip side, are you someone who always found yourself falling asleep in large classes? Individualized instruction may be the way to go to learn the Turkish language. Many individualized lessons are taught by Native Turkish speakers, but in your own language...at least until you get the hang of things. Learning one-on-one allows instructors to mold teachings to your preferred learning method and skill level, helping you increase your communication skills more quickly than in group settings. That said, individualized lesson plans will come at a higher price point.

Tips for Gaining Turkish Fluency

While Turkish may seem like quite an intimidating language, it is actually one of logic. Many students find that once they have mastered its grammatical rules, they are well on their way to a solid understanding of how to learn to speak Turkish. The language itself is agglutinative, meaning that word elements are combined together (both as prefixes and suffixes) into much longer words to create sentences (for example: gel means “come” whereas geliyorum means “I am coming”).

In 1928, Turkish adopted the Latin alphabet (A.K.A. the alphabet of native English/Spanish/French, etc. speakers), making it a much more accessible language for many foreigners. Additionally, Turkish has no “hidden” pronunciations (like “ch” or “sh” in English); each character represents its own unique pronunciation, making it fairly easy for beginners to be able to properly sound out and sight read new words.

Turkish language courses vary in length from program to program, although most require a minimum of two weeks of study and others require at least 12 weeks! The longer you stay in country, the more the expenses will add up. Be sure to consider how much time (and money) you have to spend on your Turkish language lessons, as well as what level of proficiency you would like to achieve. Planning a Turkish holiday? Two or three weeks might be sufficient to jumpstart your basic understanding of the language. Hoping to secure a bilingual job? Consider a longer-term program of at least two months or more.

If you choose to study in Turkey and are truly attempting to cram in as much Turkish as possible, you can’t go wrong with a homestay. Staying with a host family not only allows you to use your language skills for the entire duration of your stay (including during down time), but also connects you to the local way of life while bringing you even closer to that dream of mastering Turkish.

Most programs, regardless of what country they are located in, offer homestays as a living option. Several may also house students in either dormitories or shared apartments. Be sure to check out your selected program’s website and contact them directly if you have questions.

Benefits & Challenges

Due to the Turkish language’s strict adherence to grammatical rules, it is considered a (relatively) easy language to learn. Learning the Turkish Language also provides students with a great window of opportunity to explore additional Turkic languages, spanning from Southeastern Europe all the way to China.

Additionally, studying Turkish provides students with a fairly novel life skill. While many students will go to school to study Spanish, Italian, or French–and study abroad in locations that support those language choices– a large majority of people are not jumping the gun to perfect their Turkish skills. As such, taking your Turkish language lessons seriously can provide you with a huge leg up in an ever increasingly competitive job market.

However, while learning Turkish has its advantages, Turkish is also not the most popular language around the world. Yes, millions upon millions of people speak it, but most of them are located in Turkey or in specific communities primarily in Eastern Europe. If you’re looking to master a language you can use in your daily life and connect with friends or neighbors, Turkish might not necessarily prove to be the most beneficial, although it will definitely set you apart.

Studying a new language abroad can connect you to a completely different culture and way of life like no other experience can. Turkish language classes can increase your brain’s overall cognitive functioning while helping to make you more perceptive to the world around you. If you are looking for a one-of-a-kind opportunity, one that will provide you with a super awesome conversation starter (literally!) and will add a unique flair to your resume – consider a journey abroad to learn Turkish.

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A Guide To
Learning Turkish Abroad


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