Turkey Scholarships, which attract thousands of students to the country every year, have seen huge demand this year as well. Between Jan. 10 and Feb. 20, 165,511 foreign students from 178 countries applied to benefit from grants.
The scholarships, courtesy of the Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities (YTB), has turned the country into a popular education hub for students the world over. They are granted to undergraduate, postgraduate students and those pursuing doctoral degrees. The applicants are subject to interviews conducted by academics and YTB officials for eligibility for a scholarship. Each scholarship candidate is assessed for their academic and social accomplishments, their interest in fields they want to study and their eligibility for studying in that field. Upon approval, they are entitled to study in the country’s most prestigious universities.
The program is viewed as a public diplomacy affair for Turkey, which seeks to boost relations with the countries where students arrive and regards graduates as informal envoys to improve those relations. The Turkey Alumni Network, with more than 150,000 graduates from more than 160 countries, works tirelessly to sustain these ties.
The program, specifically designed for international students and researchers, with its all-encompassing scholarship provisions and services, is a gateway to education in the country. What makes the program unique is its provision of university and program placement as part of its scholarship application.
All awardees are provided with a one-year, free-of-charge Turkish language course, regardless of their program or academic background. The students also get the chance to become acquainted with Turkish culture through a variety of trips and programs in their first year.
The scholarship program aims to provide a comprehensive educational experience in Turkey and thus provides arts, culture, history and sports-related social activities and training programs. It also introduces awardees to academics, institutions and organizations working in their respective fields and offers academic counseling services throughout their study period.
The scholarship program, which was launched in 2012, received around 15,000 applications from 172 countries last year. Turkey plans to increase the number of foreign students to 250,000 within the next two years.