Are you a medical student who is interested in earning a portion of your degree while living and studying for a time in a foreign country? Have you considered the country of Turkey as a potential study abroad destination? Although it is certainly not your run-of-the-mill study abroad locale, the beautiful country of Turkey has a lot to offer students, both personally and professionally, particularly those students pursuing a degree in the medical sciences—an academic area in which Turkish universities consistently excel.
Turkey, or in official circles, the Republic of Turkey, is a contiguous transcontinental country, located mostly on Anatolia in Western Asia, and on East Thrace in Southeastern Europe. Turkey shares borders with eight countries, including Bulgaria to the northwest; Greece to the west; Georgia to the northeast; Armenia, Iran and the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan to the east; and Iraq and Syria to the southeast. To the south of Turkey is the Mediterranean Sea; to the west the Aegean Sea; and to the north the Black Sea. The Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles (which together form the Turkish Straits) demarcate the boundary between Thrace and Anatolia, and they also separate Europe and Asia. Turkey’s location at the crossroads of Europe and Asia makes it a very significant country in terms of geostrategic location.
Turkey is organized as a democratic, secular, unitary, constitutional republic with a long history and diverse cultural heritage. The country’s official language is Turkish, a Turkic language spoken natively by roughly 85 percent of the population. Turks represent around 70-75 percent of the population. Many minority groups also call Turkey home; the largest of which is the Kurds, constituting roughly 18-20 percent of the overall population. From a religious standpoint, the vast majority of the population is Muslim.
Turkey is a developed country and a regional economic power. Part of its success can be attributed to its excellent system of education, particularly its higher education system, which includes several universities that are ranked among the world’s best.
Medical Education in Turkey
The medical schools in Turkey can be found on the campuses of the country’s largest universities, which also double as research centers. Pre-medical education is offered by most of the country’s higher education institutions, with programs available at both the undergraduate and graduate level, leading to Bachelor and Master Degrees, respectively.
Master degree programs in medicine help prepare students for the rigors of their formal medical education and training. Collectively these programs afford students the opportunity to take advanced coursework in healthcare related subjects—subjects that coincide roughly with a variety of healthcare professions. Students pursuing a degree in medicine in Turkey generally receive a master's degree in a science-related field of study, including, but not limited to, biology, chemistry or the biomedical sciences.
A graduate degree in the biomedical sciences involves a formal and in-depth study in areas such as physiology, neuroscience and biology. Students in this program also spend a significant amount of time in laboratories and clinical environments, performing research alongside some of the country’s most expert medical staff. The coursework for these programs typically concentrates on the medical implications of specific physical and life science subjects, such as biochemistry, anatomy, physiology and psychology. Other courses may include:
Advances in biomedical science
Applie d biochemistry
Repertory and cardiovascular systems
Along with traditional courses, candidates pursuing a Master’s degree in the biomedical sciences must also produce an original thesis or dissertation that will be evaluated by a panel of experienced faculty members. Some Master's Degrees in the biomedical sciences can be completed in two years’ time, while others span closer to three years. Admission requirements for those who wish to pursue this degree vary from one university to the next, but most Turkish schools require students to possess at least a Bachelor’s degree in a science-related field, in which they earned a 3.0 grade point average or better.
Why Study Abroad in Turkey
The universities in Turkey are not only excellent, they have a great reputation for working with other institutions outside the country and participating in exchange programs that allow international students to gain an alternate academic perspective while living and studying abroad for a semester or year in a foreign land. Each year, hundreds of international students are welcomed into universities throughout Turkey, giving them the unique opportunity to visit a part of the world quite different from their own and learn about its culture and people.
Study abroad programs in Turkey also include plenty of time for students to explore some of the country’s towns and cities and visit some of the most famous sites and attractions located there. Some of these popular sites include:
Quite possibly the most renowned tourist attraction in Turkey, the Hagia Sophia is one of the best preserved ancient buildings in the world. Built in the sixth century AD by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian, the building was converted to a mosque following the Turkish conquest. Today the structure operates as a museum, and with its remarkable architecture and beautiful mix of Byzantine and Muslim adornment, the Hagia Sophia remains one of the most popular sites in Turkey.
Turkey is awash with ancient cities, often making it difficult for visitors to decide which one to visit. One of the more popular ancient cities is Ephesus
, located near modern-day Selcuk
. Visitors will find some of the best preserved Greek and Roman ruins in the world in Ephesus, which is probably why it remains such a well-trodden part of the tourist trail from nearby resorts such as Kusadasi
. Some of the most impressive attractions at Ephesus include the Library of Celsus, the Temple of Hadrian and the ancient theater. Guests can also explore this city as part of a combination tour that also goes through the cities of Miletus, Didyma
Cappadocia Underground Cities
Among the most intriguing and fascinating tourist attractions in Turkey are the underground cities of Cappadocia. Built over a period spanning hundreds of years, the area now includes several such complexes, many of which are now open to the public. The main tourist locations are the underground cities of Kaymaklı, Derinkuyu, Özkonak, Mazi
A fifteenth-century structure and former residence of the Ottoman Sultans, the Topkapı Palace in Istanbul is an enormous and marvelously ornate palatial compound which was a focal point of Istanbul’s social and political life for hundreds of years. Now a UNESCO World Heritage site, visitors flock through the gates of this beautiful palace to gaze at all of its splendid detail: its Ottoman architecture, courtyards and fascinating Muslim and Christian relics. A must-see site, the Topkapi Palace consistently ranks among the top tourist attractions in Turkey.