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Istanbul is one of the world's oldest and most fascinating cities. The Bosporus divides this beautiful town into the biggest transcontinental city in the world, which allows visitors to experience both Asia and Europe simultaneously.
Moving to Istanbul is a great decision to make and can be an incredible life experience. Once called Constantinople, this city is an important trade route on both land and sea. Due to its rich history and unique location the city has a combination of architecture from the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires alike, as well as modern architecture found only in this metropolis. Vibrant nightlife, fresh food markets and a culture rich in tradition and sustained values are also part of this ancient town, filled with mystery and unbelievable legacy. There are many apartments for rent in Istanbul and finding one can be done in a few simple steps, but be aware that most rentals do not include maintenance and utility costs. Even so Istanbul is generally much cheaper than any other major European cities. That said, in Istanbul apartments for rent long term usually have an advance deposit of two months, which you should factor in to your budget. Here are a few notes on the city's most popular regions …
The historic and magical landscape on the west of the Sea of Marmara has its own unique flair and deep history. Occupied by the Romans and the Ottomans in turn, Istanbul possesses mosques and churches side by side, giving this ancient city an inimitable multicultural flavour. The best example of this is the ‘Ayasofya’, built as an orthodox church, then later transformed into a mosque before finally being converted into a museum. Another example close by is the ‘Sultanahmet Mahallesi’ or 'Blue Mosque', which is widely considered one of the most beautiful mosques in the world. The ‘Galata’ tower in the district of Galata/Karaköy is a perfect place for breathtaking views of Istanbul. Taksim, known as the tourist centre of Istanbul, offers the 'Taksim Gezi' Park and restaurants for expats and professionals. Reina and Supperclub in Beşiktaş are the perfect places for drinks and clubbing. Rent prices vary from district to district and can be very expensive. Apartments range from €400 to €1000 per month. Popular areas to live in for expats are Beyoğlu, which includes Taksim, and Beşiktaş.
While many of the attractions and most up-market areas are on the European side of the Bosphorus, Anatolia offers cheaper accommodation and has some wonderful neighbourhoods of its own. It also has lovely landscapes and monuments to offer. Kadıköy, the more quiet and relaxing alternative in comparison to the districts of Thrace, is considered to be the signboard of Anatolia. It also home to the biggest food market in Turkey. The University of Marmara has the majority of its campus in this area. Whereas Thrace hosts the Football teams Galatasaray and Beşiktaş, Anatolia is home to Fenerbahçe in the quarter of the same name. Rent on the asian side is also much cheaper than in Thrace, and you can find cheap apartments for around €350 to €700 per month.
If you want to study and live in Istanbul, you must look at what student housing is out there. Student housing in a non-western city is not too dissimilar from other European cities. Most students will be looking for cheap accommodation in Istanbul. The average student spends 350-500 euros per month on student accommodation. Student houses are more expensive on the European Side than the Asian.
When looking at accommodation for students in Istanbul there are: shared house, student apartments and student residence halls. Trying to make friends in this city should not be hard, especially with locals. Turkish people are known to be very welcoming, especially towards international students. You should be able to enjoy this beautiful city as a student. If you live in a shared house, it is a great opportunity to meet people. Similarly student residences involve living amongst fellow students.Those are wonderful accommodations to make first year friendships and bonds. Both flatshares and student dorms in Istanbul can be gender specific. If you prefer privacy, an option is to rent your own apartment or split the cost by sharing it with friends.
A deposit is typically the amount of two months rent in Istanbul. Lastly a copy of your residency permit may be required. You have to make an appointment with the Directorate General of Migration Management's HQ. This is found at Vatan Caddesi No. 64, Aksaray. Specific districts have dedicated centres for the process.
Below are some further information about the property types: Shared houses in Istanbul can be quite accommodating and this is definitely becoming a normality. Those are usually very affordable and are one the best options to take into consideration, when moving to Istanbul.
Student apartments and flats are great if you would like to have your own space. However as a student, this can be definitely considered to be a luxury lifestyle decision. You can decide to move in with friends, other students or live with your partner to minimise the cost.
Student residence halls are either run by your university or privately. They are also offered to visitors, non-students, who are only staying in Istanbul for a short-term. Therefore Student residence halls can be considered to be also student hostels in Istanbul.
Istanbul is a large city and is densely populated by universities.
A few notable areas in Istanbul would be; the ‘Golden Horn’, this is the water separating the peninsula in Istanbul. The water is connecting the mouth of Bosphorus to the Marmara Sea. There is a bridge connecting the two sides over the Golden Horn, which is called The Galata Bridge. It connects Karaköy and Eminönü in the Faith district. The Galata district (Karaköy) has many restaurants and attracts a busy nightlife. This is also where Istanbul’s red light district lies.
Kadıköy is a popular district on the Asian side of the Bosphorus. This originally part of the Üsküdar district before separating it is south of Kadıköy. There is easy access to the European side by boat or bridge. Kadıköy is home to a lot of students and international students. The district is very welcoming to all nationalities. There is lots to see and do in this district. It is a coastal district and has bars, cafes and shops along the promenade.
In Turkish the university translates to ‘Bogaziçi Üniversitesi’ and is on the European side of the Bosphorus strait. The university is one of the best in Turkey, ranking the highest consecutive in recent years. As one of the first American Higher Educational Schools to be opened overseas, it was founded in 1863. The taught language at the university is English.
The Bogazici Universitesi has 6 different campuses spread across Istanbul. Four are located on the European side and two are on the Asian side. The South Campus, North Campus, Hisar Campus, and Uçaksavar Campus are all in Bebek, an affluent area of Istanbul. The South Campus is the historical campus of the Bosphorus University. It is also the welcome centre for visitors and is the most popular campus. Across the Bosphorus strait is the Kandilli campus and the Kilyos. These actually have their own private beaches.
In Turkish the university translates to ‘Sabancı Üniversitesi’, situated in a 1.26 km2 plot, 40km outside of Istanbul. The university is relatively young. The first students enrolled in 1999. The university is an one hour drive or two hours bus journey from Istanbul’s city centre. It is a self-contained campus and has all basic amenities on-site.
The Koç University is on the European side of Istanbul. The campus is named after the lighthouse Rumeli Feneri. It is in the Sarıyer district, which is the most northern district of Istanbul. It is where the entrance of the Bosphorus strait meets the Black Sea from the north. During the Ottoman Empire the neighbourhood was a retreat for wealthy men and woman, as it is a coastal district. The majority of subjects are taught in English, par the nursing and law schools.
The university is actually dated back to 1773 and founded by Sultan Mustafa III as the Imperial School of Naval Engineering. The syllabus developed over the years. It began opening its doors to architects and then scoping to public engineering etc. In 1924 it became officially recognised as a university and is one of the most prestigious in Turkey. The university has in total five campuses throughout the city, which are: The Maslak, University Rectorate, Tuzla, and Gümuşsuyu and Maçka. Some of Istanbul's most historic buildings are used by the university.
The Yildiz Technical University is another technical university in Istanbul. The university has been around since 1911. The central campus of YTU is in the Beşiktaş district on the shore of the Bosphorus and is considered to have relatively middle class neighbourhoods. The other new campus ‘Davutpaşa’ is also on the European side in the Esenler neighborhood. Esenler is considered to be a poorer neighbourhood and rent can, but don’t have to, be cheaper than in other parts of the city.
In Turkish Bilgi means ‘knowledge’. It’s law school is in the top 3 nationwide. There are three campuses belonging to the university and they are named Santral Istanbul, Dolapdere and Kuştepe. The main university is on the piece peninsula that sticks out into the ‘Golden Horn’. The horn-shaped estuary connects the Bosphorus strait and Marmara Sea. The Dolapdere campus in the city centre and is 10 minutes away from central points such as Taksim Square. Şişli is a district just north of Taksim square and is home to the last campus Kuştepe.
The Üsküdar University offers subjects that are thematic to ‘Behavioral Health and Sciences’. Across on the Asian side of Turkey, in the Üsküdar district, is the university’s campus. This district has architectural influence from the Ottoman empire and historical points of interest. The commute across the Bosphorus can be done by boat or bridge and is done regularly by residents.
The Beykent University is a foundation university in the Beylikdüzü district. The universities taught languages are English, Russian and Turkish. This suburban district matches European standards and has one of the highest green space percentage per person. Since the earthquake in 1990, a lot of new residential buildings were built in Beylikdüzü. The district is full of Turkish and international migrants and is known to have a welcoming atmosphere. Furthermore if you enjoy shopping, it has the best shopping malls in Istanbul.