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Sultan Ahmed Mosque

Stanford at Koç University, Istanbul

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The program's location at Koç University will provide students with a diverse cultural environment and exposure to courses in social sciences and humanities, as well as integration into Turkish university life.

Istanbul is a world-historical city. It was a capital of three empires - Roman, Eastern Roman (Byzantine) and Ottoman. The city was founded as a Greek colony by the name of Byzantium. In the 4th century, Emperor Constantine rebuilt the city as the new capital of the Roman Empire. In the 7th century, Emperor Justinian transformed the city into a worldly center of Eastern Christianity. The Ottoman conquest in 1453 reoriented the city as the new capital of the empire and the center of the Islamic world. Under the Ottomans, while the Muslim Turks and Christian Greeks fostered the multi-religious Ottoman culture in Istanbul, the Jewish immigration from Iberia, Armenian immigration from Eastern Anatolia, and Arab immigration from Egypt, Indo-Muslim and Persian immigration from India and Iran enriched the diversity of this imperial city through the Ottoman centuries.

With the founding of the Republic of Türkiye in 1923, Ankara became the new capital. However, Istanbul continued to be the intellectual, cultural and business center of the republic. Beginning in the 1990s, the city has been reborn as a center of the global economy, as well as an intellectual, artistic and political hub of Europe and the Middle East. The city attracts  business elites and working-class immigrants from all over the world. At the same time,  it also witnesses various socio-political and cultural movements such as Islamic revivalism, environmentalism, Muslim feminism and LGBTQ activism. In recent years the city has come to host large refugee communities from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. ​While rapid political and economic change pose new challenges to the city and its inhabitants, Istanbulites continue to search for and find new ways of expressing diverse voices via social media, fine arts, performance and new urban solidary groups.

Student Ambassadors

share their first-hand experiences about the program, what led them to choose the program, and some of the challenges they faced while studying abroad. Dive deeper into 'a day in the life' while abroad, as a particular student experience may help you decide if this program is right for you.

What I Did in Istanbul

Amaya Marion

Major: International Relations

Minor: East Asian Studies