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Bc. Juraj Svatík, Brno University of Technology, ročník 3 years of Bachelor´s study programme

Faculty of chemistry
Field of study Material chemistry
Field of internship Physical Sciences, Other
Specialization of InternshipInorganic Chemistry
Internship period (from - to) 10.7.2017 - 1.9.2017
Internship duration (weeks) 8
Transport (means, price) Plane (Ukraine International Airline) - 205 € (transfer in Kiev)
Insurance/Insurance company Union, a. s. - 86,23 €
Visa/Work permit (yes/no) Visa needed (Turkish embassy in Slovakia)
Price of Visa 60 €
City of Internship Zobrazit místo na mapě  Turkey, Istanbul
Internship reference number TR-2017-110-KOC

About the country

Location of the place

My internship took place at Koc university, which is quite far from city center of Istanbul. It´s almost on the coast of Black sea, near to Bosphorus and it takes approximately 1 and half hour to get there from city center by public transportation (underground/bus/minibus). From the airport you need to take the underground two times and then bus or minibus to Koc university - this is about 2 hours.
Otherwise, I lived in a campus at dormitories and it´s really nice place. The area is guarded and fenced, so nobody without student card can get in. It´s really safe here and youd don´t need to be afraid of losing your stuff. The campus is really big, surrounded by forest and equipped with shop, restaurants, gym and even a barber. As the campus is alone in the forest, you can get here everything, but it´s more expensive, because this university is private one. The nearest civilization is about 7 minutes drive by minibus or bus. You can also take shuttle there, which are special means of transportation just for Koc students and get you there for free. That´s because Koc university has there another campus (West campus) and shuttles makes round trips through main campus all day. Near the west campus are bigger shops, restaurants and park, where you can hang out with friends.

City

Istanbul is large and very historical city (actually, it´s the biggest city in Turkey). It has officialy 14,5 million inhabitants, but local people claim that it´s actually around 20 million. So you can imagine, how it looks like in undergound or city center. Fortunately, the city is very wide and draging along the both coast a lot of kilometres, so the city is crowded just in center. It´s about 3 hours without traffic jam to get from one end of Istanbul to another by car.
It has many parts, each one with specific reasons to visit, e. g. historical city, party part of city, etc. In the town, you should certainly visit historical city (Topkapi palace, Guleme park, Grand bazar, Hagia Sophia, Sultanahmet, Galata bridge and tower, ...). It´s all very close, so you just take the underground to the city center and walk there. Other parts of city worth visiting are Kadikoy (asian part of Istanbul) and Besiktas (european part of Istanbul), which are full of pubs and people. The nearest part of Istanbul to Koc university is Sariyer where you can walk along the coast, take a beer and watch Bosphorus.
As I mentioned, Istanbul is really a big city, so mostly it´s better to ask local people which place you should visit, but these one´s are the most famous.

Surroundings (possible trips, ...)

Around main campus you have some nice places to visit, but mostly you need to take a lift to the town and get another minibus or underground there. Near to main campus, there is a coast of Black sea, where is the village Rumelifeneri. This village has a port, where you can buy fresh fish and also a lot of restaurants, where people go mainly for breakfast with beautiful view at Boshoporus and Black sea. Another place in village is an old castle, a ruin, where you can take nice pictures. Also the view is spectacular. Close to the village is a national park, but I didn´t visit. Next village to Rumelifeneri is Garipce, it´s smaller, but you can get there breakfast, too. By the way back to campus, you can stop at watchtower to observe birds, which migration road leads over this point. Another place worth to visit is Kilyos beach on the coast of Black sea, but you need to take a minibus to the nearest station (Haciosman) and then another one to the beach. Because this is actually beach, you need to pay an entrance fee, about 25 TL for students. One disadvantage of beaches in Istanbul is that you need to pay everywhere for entrance and mostly people don´t advise to swim, because of strong streams in the sea. You just get there, walk a little a bit and lay there all day. Other places to visit are placed in the centre of Istanbul and I mentioned it above.

Employer

Employer

I worked for Koc university in inorganic laboratories of material science research. My boss was prof. Mehmet Sommer and my supervisor, who led me and gave me job, was Kamil Kiraz. In lab, there were another 8 people, some of them were PhD. students, some were Master´s degree students and some were regular employees or teachers. This collective was very nice and they accepted me very warmly. Usually we took lunches together in restaurants in the campus and we also took some beers a few times after work in the nearby of campus. I really liked to work there.

Work description

I was working on a project with my supervisor about improving initiator of airbag system in cars. He explained me everything I needed to know and said me, what he expect from me to do. I was measuring on calorimetric device the energy density and after he taught me, how to use it, I was working alone. He always determined me some work I should have done and it was up to me how fast I did it. When there was free time for me, I worked with other colleagues from lab and they taught me about their work. I learned a lot of stuff during the internship and also to use various devices. In the end of my internship I had to write a Final report about my work here, measured values and my conclusions on my results and work.

Salary (sufficient for local conditions?)

For your information and easier vision of prices in Turkey, here is the exchange rate in that time: 1 € = 4 TL!
My salary was 900 TL per month. 400 TL cost accomodation and they immediately reduced the salary about this amount of money, so I got 500 TL. For life in campus, which means buying some food and drinks it´s enough, but as I was not there just to eat, drink and work, it was a little. The prices of foodstuff are very similar to these in Slovakia or Czech. Of course, some things are more expensive, some are cheaper.
A few examples: A bread - 1,5 TL; Milk 1L - 2 TL; Cheese 0,5 kg - 12 TL; Beer 0,5L - 8 TL;
If you want to travel and discover Turkey, sometimes take some trips with your friends or just grab a couple of beers (which were much expensive for me in comparison with Czech or Slovakia), you need to have your own money. Quite expensive thing for me in Turkey was probably transportation, so you need to be prepared for this, if you want to travel.
An important thing is that I get my first money after first month, so you need some money to survive first month without salary!!!

Language requirements

As you will speak here English everyday, if you don´t know Turkish, I strongly advise you to be at least fluent speaker. Mostly because of talking with your colleagues in lab and also your supervisor will speak to you in English and explain all the specific terms, so you should understand. But you don´t need to know English like a natural speaker. I also didn´t know and I didn´t have any problem.
Generally, Turkish people don´t know English and when you need to manage something, it takes much more time. But you always get what you need or want. I travelled along the whole west part of Turkey alone and there was no problem. Mostly people didn´t speak, but they were all very willing to help and that´s what you need. In Istanbul it´s the same except of Grand Bazar where a lot of tourists go to buy a souvenir, so the salesmans have to know English.

Accommodation (price, who provided it)

I lived in main campus of Koc university at dormitories. The dormitories are very close to school, it took me five minutes to get to the lab. Even closer, there are catering facilities as restaurants, shop and canteen. A bit further, there is a big gym, where you can enter in any time in day, even at night. There is everything from fitness devices to the pitches to play basketball, volleybal or squash.
The dormitories are built in certain positions, so between them, there is place under the trees for students to hang out. There are several buildings, each marked with letter to be distinguished. Each building has three floors, while the top floor is reserved for kitchen, but with no kitchenware at all. Otherwise, the view is amazing. The other floors are equipped with 12 rooms and two shared bathrooms each, where are washing machine and dryer, too. The rooms are for 3 persons and are furnished with 3 beds, tables with lamps and chairs, also a fridge, a mirror and 3 wardrobes. The stuff there is very modern, clean and new.
The accomodation was provided by university and it´s the best option, you can get regarding to quality and price. Generally, living in Istanbul is very expensive as it´s the most expensive place in Turkey.

Social life

Meeting IAESTE members (pick-up at the airport, organised events...)

When I arrived to the airport (Ataturk airport on european side of Istanbul), I went by myself to the campus. My mentor couldn´t come, so she just described me how to get there and I searched some information on the Internet on my own. I had to take the underground from the airport, line M1 (red), to Yenikapi (last stop) and then from Yenikapi to Haciosman (last stop), line M2 (green). From Haciosman you can tak a bus (150, 154) or minibus directly to the university.
Otherwise, my mentor was great, she showed me everything in campus and helped me, if I got any problem. She also took me to center, showed me all the famous places and made me taste their traditional food.
IAESTE also organised some trips almost every weekend (Kapadokya trip, visiting of Prince islands, Butterfly valley, ...) and they made a lot of events through the week (Makara - party and dancing, movie nights, playing footbal/basketball/voleyball, hanging out in pubs, and so on).
My supervisor was also a responsible person for IAESTE students at Koc university, so communication with IAESTE was very good and smooth.

Meeting other foreign students

This was not a problem at all, cause I shared my room with students from Thailand and Switzerland. At dormitories were also students from Spain, Poland, Greece, Iran, Azerbaijan... There were a lot of activities and events organised, which I mentioned above, where I could meet other IAESTE students. I got to know a lot of foreign people and made some good friends from abroad.

Sport and culture

Sport facilities are included in campus area, as I mentioned the gym above. There is also a swimming pool and you can go runnning inside of campus or outside in the forest. If you got enough friends, you can also play som games in gym and IAESTE students from other universities in city organised some matches/games, too.
The most cultural thing for me was visiting historical places in Istanbul. As far as I know, there were some movie nights organised by IAESTE and you can probably easily find some cultural events on the internet or just ask some local people or IAESTE students from Istanbul.

Food, local specialties

The canteen serves some local food, but mostly it´s food like in Slovakia or Czech. When there´s meat, mostly it´s chicken. You can also choose from specialities, special salads and vegetables, fruits and desserts are in form of free bufet (you can take as much as you want). Nevertheless, in campus are more restaurants differing in prices, I would say that quality is moreover the same. So there are a lot of possibilities to choose food which you like.
In the surroundings, there are some nearby villages near to Bosphorus and Black sea where you can have typical turkish breakfast with a view on the sea. In nearby residential area, where the second campus is, there are more restaurants and pubs, so you can enjoy there beer with friends.

Other information

Possibilites to communicate with the Czech Republic

During my internship, I communicated just via social networks (messenger, whatsapp, hangouts). I didn´t need to make any call home, but probably it´s possible, just the prices are very high.

Recommendations for students who will go to the same place

You should totally travel here. Turkey is incredibly beautiful country with rich history. So there are plenty of historical places and the nature nearer to the coast is admirable, too. You should also visit Kapadokya, it´s probably one of the most special places in Turkey.

What not to forget with you

Probably all kinds of clothes. I thought it´s gonna be just incredibly hot here, but it was also raining sometimes and in half of august my boss told me that the real summer in Istanbul is over.

Benefits of the internship

At least for me, the campus was something extraordinary, because of the location almost on the coast of Black sea and it was like living in small student city with a view on the sea every day. I really liked it there and I was glad I could live there. I had opportunity to really work on research, too. This summer internship really gave me a lot, because I was not just looking at somebody working, but I could work on my own, try my own strength, resourcefulness and, of course, gain a lot of new skills.

Cooperation with IAESTE in the foreign country

Cooperation with IAESTE was good. My supervisor was the responsible person for IAESTE students at the university, so every time I needed to solve something, he was always willing to help me. Communication with other IAESTE members was very easy, too. We had a FB page and also a group on whatsapp, where the responsible persons gave updates everyday.

Overall experience with IAESTE

I am quite glad with IAESTE. The internship finished very good and I enjoyed it very much. Just in the beginning of the year, when I applied for an internship, there was no answer for three months and it really made me anxious and nervous, but in the end it was solved. Maybe it was just a mistake of the company or foreign IAESTE, but I never got any explanation.

Student's website

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1344854942258772/

Employer's webiste

https://www.ku.edu.tr/en
https://www.ku.edu.tr/en/virtual-tour#virtualtour

Other useful links

https://www.turecko.org/turecko/istanbul.html
https://www.neredennereye.com/en/

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