Iftar Dinner with International Students at CoHE

May 28, 2019 / Ankara

CoHE President Prof. M. A. Yekta Saraç met with international students, who are far away from their families and are studying at Turkish universities, at iftar dinner.

In addition to President Saraç, Executive Board Members of CoHE, ambassadors and education attachés of the countries of the students attending the event and international students from 135 countries, who are studying for bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the universities of Ankara, attended the fourth iftar dinner organized by CoHE.

CoHE President Saraç delivered an opening speech at the event. He said that international students from 135 countries in six continents of which 49 are from Africa, 38 from Asia, 32 from Europe, 12 from South America, 3 from North America and 1 from Australia had joined the iftar dinner representing their home countries.

“It is extremely significant in academic, social and cultural aspects that you have chosen Turkey for your studies. We consider your intellectual knowledge, the dynamics of your home countries as important and precious richness," Yekta Saraç said.

He noted that countries open the gates of their universities to the international arena and said, “Exchange of knowledge, social sharing, digital facilities, increased interest for higher education throughout the world, access to higher education from all segments of society have escalated international student exchange in the 21st century.”

He shared some information on international student mobility. He stated that the number of students studying abroad, which was nearly 800,000 in the 1970s, had risen to 4,500,000 in 2012 and that they expected this figure to reach 8,000,000 by 2022.

Saraç said the following regarding Turkey’s internationalization strategy in higher education:

“Turkey continues to sustain its current relations to reach its target for higher education strategies in internationalization. We build new partnerships. As we develop education policies for graduate and undergraduate international students, we not only adopt humanitarian policies but also economic ones. The number of international students, which was around 40,000 four years ago, has reached 150,000 today. There are students from 182 countries in Turkey. This is the success of internationalization policy followed by the New CoHE.”

“You will reflect our country’s higher education to the world in the best manner”

Saraç reiterated that they took a board decision to abolish the limitation of international student quota for both public and foundation universities this year and added, “With this decision, we anticipate better outcomes without making any concessions on quality.”

“We acknowledge that you are a reference for Turkish universities to become an international center of attraction. You will reflect our country’s higher education to the world in the best manner. You will contribute to the development of both your country and Turkey and the co-existence of different cultures in harmony and peace.

Besides scholarships offered by the Turkish government, we have created a new CoHE Scholarship Project for higher education which will be implemented for the first time in Turkey. In this Project, the first targeted countries were Pakistan, Kosovo, Albania, Bangladesh, Macedonia, Rwanda, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Sudan.

We provide education to the students of these countries in the required fields in coordination with the corresponding ministries. After returning to their countries, these students will serve in public institutions for twice the period of their studies in Turkey.”

Saraç said that the CoHE-Turcology scholarships had been granted in countries such as Sudan and Macedonia and that they would extend the program this year.

He pointed out that they would play the greatest role in development-oriented cooperation, solidarity and amicable relations between the home countries of students and Turkey.

“We hope that the world that will be reshaped in your hands will be encircled by peace and love. We will support you sincerely in this journey. I hope you will have fruitful years at your universities. When you return to your countries, I hope you will imagine what you could do better for your country, work toward your dreams and never forget the cherished memories in your other home country, Turkey.”

International students shared their thoughts on Turkish higher education

Turkmenistani Didar Badyyev, one of the students in the Department of Economics at Hacettepe University, said that she had always wanted to come to Turkey since childhood and that she had been receiving education in Turkey for four years.

Badyyev emphasized that she had chosen Turkey for her studies because of the quality of universities in Turkey and said, “The education I received in Turkey has fulfilled all my expectations. All of our teaching staff at the university helped me greatly in making me advance in my field of study.”

Libyan Zainab Alabedi, a student in the Department of Interior Architecture at Atılım University, said that she was glad to be in Turkey and added, “Turkish people are so tolerant and understanding. This makes us so happy.”

She stated that she came to Turkey because she wanted to learn more about the Turkish culture which she adores. “There are similarities between my culture and Turkish culture. That is why I did not have a hard time trying to adapt to Turkey. I am not feeling like a stranger when I live here,” she said.

After the meal, Kazakh students sang traditional songs including “Dombra”.

Prof. Halis Aygün, President of OSYM, Prof. Muzaffer Elmas, President of the Higher Education Quality Council of Turkey (YOKAK), Prof. Mehmet Barca, Rector of Social Sciences University of Ankara, Prof. İbrahim Aydınlı, Rector of Ankara Yıldırım Beyazıt University, Prof. Mustafa Verşan Kök, Rector of METU, Prof. Haluk Özen, Rector of Hacettepe University, Prof. Yıldırım Üçtuğ, Rector of Atılım University, Prof. Ali Haberal, Rector of Başkent University, Prof. Erol Parlak, Rector of Ankara Music and Fine Arts University, the ambassadors and education attaches of the countries of international students attended the event.

Students from Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Germany, the USA, Albania, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burundi, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, Chad, China, Colombia, the Comoros, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Finland, France, Gabon, the Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, the Great Britain, Greece, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau,Haiti, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Kosovo, Kuwait, Madagascar, Malawi, the Maldives, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, the Netherlands, Niger, Nigeria, Macedonia, Pakistan, Palestine, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, the Republic of the Congo, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Somalia, South Africa, South Korea, South Sudan, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Sudan, Syria, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Qatar Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia and Zimbabwe gathered at the iftar dinner.

After the meal, CoHE President Saraç talked with ambassadors, students, and press members.

Nearly 150 thousand international undergraduate and graduate students from 182 countries are studying at Turkish higher education institutions.