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Issues in Educational Research, 2021, Vol 31(1), 274-290.
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Why do international students choose Turkish universities and what are the challenges they encounter?

Oya Tamtekin Aydın
Istanbul Bilgi University, Turkey

International student numbers in Turkish higher education have increased considerably in recent years. This study explores the reasons for selecting Turkey as a study abroad location as well as the challenges faced by international students. In this qualitative study, data was collected through semi-structured interviews with 62 international students at different Turkish foundation universities. After analysing data through content analysis, the results indicated that there are two main categories which influence the decision to study in Turkey: (i) negative factors at their home country and popular destinations push the students to new destinations; emotional, social, and political affiliation pull students to Turkey (ii) positive factors at Turkey (e.g., cost advantages, providing opportunities, strategic location) that pull students. The respondents reported the following as challenges to study in the host country: the language barrier, personal factors related to transitioning to life abroad, living in a big city, and difficulties with their educational institution and government. Ultimately, the results of this study provide a new perspective to the existing literature by providing insights from the international students choosing a university in an non-traditional destination that is outside the major receiving countries.
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Author: Oya Tamtekin Aydın PhD is a faculty member and head of the School of Tourism and Hospitality, Tourism and Hotel Management, Istanbul Bilgi University, Turkey. Her major research interests lie in the area of higher education management, strategic management, globalisation, internationalisation in higher education, and higher education research.
Email: oyatamtekin@gmail.com

Please cite as: Tamtekin Aydın, O. (2021). Why do international students choose Turkish universities and what are the challenges they encounter? Issues in Educational Research, 31(1), 274-290. http://www.iier.org.au/iier31/tamtekin-aydin.pdf

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