Personal Identification

It is a legal obligation to carry personal identification with you at all times. It is not uncommon to be approached by officials asking you to present your ID card. As foreigners, it is best to carry a photocopy of your passport with student visa and residence permit.



Always go by the taximeter! Ensure that the taxi driver has started the meter at 4,00 TL; the current flat rate. The fare should increase by approximately 2,50 TL in each kilometre. Tipping is not required; simply round the total upward. A useful application for smartphones is “BiTaksi” which has the nearest taxi come directly to you. The app also includes driver ratings and customer feedback. All drivers are fully licensed.



It is generally accepted to tip between 5-10 % at cafes and restaurants in Istanbul. A 15-20 % tip would be appropriate at more formal venues.


Travelling at Night

As in most countries, it is best to travel in groups of two or more at night. It is advisable to avoid poorly lit streets/alleyways, and not to venture into unknown neighbourhoods.



Tax is included in listed prices. It is common practice to bargain about prices in independent shops or markets. Prices for food are always fixed, though.


What To Bring



Although it depends on which time of the year you arrive, you should never forget that you will have the chance to experience different climates depending on the season. This means that you will need a variety of clothes in your wardrobe!

These include sweaters, jackets and boots; as well as sandals or summer dresses, if you plan to be here for the spring semester. If you think it is too much to carry with you, don’t worry, you always have the chance to buy any type of clothing you need here in İstanbul.



Make sure that your electrical appliances are compatible with Turkey’s voltage system: 220V (European style plugs). If you need one, bring an adaptor with you. You can also buy one here for a modest price.



It is recommended that you do not bring food with you to Turkey. It is very likely that you will find any type of food you want here in İstanbul, as we have a large variety of shops and restaurants in the city.



It is advised that you do not bring or carry around large amounts of cash. Bring enough cash for your first couple weeks, until you have a bank account; then try to use either debit or credit cards as they are easier to manage.


Mobile Phone

Check any additional charges that would be added if you use your phone in Turkey. You will be guided by your mentors to buy a Turkish SIM card if you wish during the orientation week. You will have access to Wi-Fi at the airport and at the university campus.


Driving in Turkey

Short term visitors with a driver’s license in another country do not need a new driver’s license in Turkey for up to 6 months. Residents staying longer than 6 months must apply to switch their license to a Turkish driver’s license if there is a bilateral agreement between countries. Those who would like to obtain a driver’s license for the first time can do so in Turkey once they have a residence permit.



Istanbul has a Mediterranean climate, and slightly maritime toward the Northwest. Summers are generally hot, with the temperature averaging 23.4 °C (74.1 °F). Winters can be cold, wet and often snowy, averaging 5.4 °C (42 °F). Spring and autumn are usually mild, and the weather can differ from chilly to warm. Occasional snowfall is common between December and March.


Arts & Culture

Istanbul is the only city in the world that spans two continents: Asia and Europe. In Istanbul, you can take a ferry from Europe to Asia and vice versa! Turkish cuisine is a mouth-watering fusion and refinement of Central Asian, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Caucasian and Balkan dishes. From meat dishes to sweet desserts and ending with a Turkish coffee. Don’t miss this feast for your stomach! There is always an activity around the city. Either a concert at Babylon, a film premiere at Nisantasi, an exhibition in Istanbul Modern or a jazzy night in Nardis Jazz Club... If it’s art, entertainment and music you’re looking for, you are in the right place to feed your appetite! Istanbul offers a vibrant night scene. Most of Istanbul’s nightlife venues can be found in Besiktas, Beyoglu, Kadikoy and Karakoy. Also, there are nightclubs in Ortakoy, near the sea. It wouldn’t be wrong to define İstanbul as a city full history and culture as well as arts and aesthetics. One thing is for sure: there is something for everyone who wants to get to know the rich resources this city has to offer.


İstanbul Museum of Modern Art

Being the first museum of modern art in Turkey, İstanbul Museum of Modern Art or İstanbul Modern in Turkish has permanent and temporary exhibition galleries, the photography gallery, new media area, library, cinema, educational programs, gift store, and a restaurant.


İstanbul Archaeology Museums

İstanbul Archaeology Museums are among the most impressive historical venues, and are made up of 3 main units: the İstanbul Archaeology Museum, the Ancient Orient Museum, and Tiled Kiosk Museum. The collections in the Archaeology Museums belong to various cultures collected from the imperial territories.


Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia is one of the most visited museums and most prominent monuments in the world in terms of art and the history of architecture. Used as a church and a mosque throughout the history, it was turned into a museum in 1935 and is open to visitors since.


Dolmabahçe Palace

Dolmabahçe Palace was built in the 19th century, and still to this day is viewed as one of the most tremendous palaces in the world. Back in the time, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk transferred all government functions to this palace; after the Republic of Turkey was founded.


Pera Museum

Pera Museum is a private museum which offers a diverse high-quality culture and art services. The museum has temporary and permanent exhibitions and attracts lots of visitors every time of the year.

For a list of museums in Istanbul, you can visit


Useful Apps


Public Transportation Apps:

For Android: Trafi

For Apple: Trafi

For Android: Moovit

For Apple: Moovit


Taxi-Hailing Apps:

For Android: BiTaksi

For Apple: BiTaksi


Live İstanbul Traffic App:

For Android: IBB CepTrafik

For Apple: IBB CepTrafik


Event Ticket App:

 For Android: Biletix

For Apple: Biletix

For Android: Mobilet

For Apple: Mobilet


Currency Exchange App:

For Android: XE Currency

 For Apple: XE Currency