Turkey is a bridge between Asia and Europe, not only in terms of geographical location but also in cultural, social and political aspects. Due to this unique position in the country's territory spread across Anatolia (Asia) and Thrace (Europe), many great civilizations have risen throughout history, and these civilizations have been a home to cultural and ethnic wealth and diversity. Many things in Turkey contain a mixture of the West and the East, the old and the new, the traditional and the modern. When you visit even the smallest city in Turkey no matter how little its population is, you will find that different cultural elements, traditions, beliefs, languages or dialects live.
Many religious, ethnic and cultural origins of human lives on territories of Turkey that were home to many communities and empires that left traces and and are located on migration and trade routes. Perhaps as a result of this diversity, people in Turkey are harmonious, friendly, hospitable and helpful.
Among the first impressions of most international students about Turkey is that people are helpful and friendly. In Turkey, in a situation where you need help, it is not difficult to communicate even with a person who does not speak a foreign language. In a difficult situation you may ask for help around. Even yet you can reach a helping hand on the street without asking.
Many universities in Turkey constitute teams that local students work voluntarily to support adaptation process of new international students. Be sure that these volunteers who will be your friend during the semester will give you priceless tips about life in your new university and your city.
In Turkish society, family, friends, neighbor visits are common. You can go to a close friend and relatives as a boarding guest. Guest is almost sacred for Turkish people, and people do everything they can to make the guest entertained and relaxed. When you are a guest of a traditional Turkish family, first they will feed you with incessant meals or snacks, they will insist you stay longer and will even want to give you their own rooms / beds to make sure you are comfortable if you are staying.
In Turkish society, there is also a common sympathy for students. If you are living away from your family as a young student or employee, one evening your neighbor may want to serve you food by knocking on your door. When you're finished with salt in the kitchen, don't hesitate to ask your dorm roommate or your next door neighbor.
Turkey, which opened its doors to millions of refugees who had to leave their country because of the war, shows the best of Turkish hospitality.
Turks love to share and present gifts. Innovations are often celebrated by giving and receiving gifts. For example, when your friend moves to a new house or you are a first-time guest in a home, when a new baby is born a gift is given. As a student from a different country, you will have acquainting people who want to offer you gifts. It may hurt people if you do not accept a gift or a treat offered at the house you are visiting.
Treat (İkram) is a difficult concept to translate into other languages. Treating is a way to welcome the guest and is a presentation in a short-term seeing or meeting place. As a gift, treat is also offered free of charge, but it does not require an affinity in the established relationship and is of a smaller scale. For example, in restaurants or in an institution you visit as a guest, treat is offered. You will soon observe that one of the most common treats is tea. Turks love to drink and offer tea.
It is common interest and curiosity towards foreigners in Turkey. People do not hesitate to communicate with new people and can be intimate with them in a short time. As the new resident of your city, university or home, there will be ones who want to meet and talk to you.
Compared to many other communities, you will notice that verbal communication in Turkey is quite "noisy". When you see someone who starts to comment or laugh suddenly, don't bother. This is not an argument or a conflict, but an indication that there is a party that is excited in conversations. Also, when you see those who are chatting or are kidding with each other contact physically, don't find strange - physical contact is often part of the interaction.
Whether it is for solidarity or courtesy, it is common for Turkish society to share dishes, clothes, emotions, secrets. People do not prefer to be alone in many ways, and in this sense, family and friendship relations are vital. If you ask anyone in Turkey, regardless of age, gender, social position, you will get an answer that he/she has a close friend from neighborhood or school, especially from the university.
Friends sometimes get ahead of their family members in terms of the familiarity and depth of sharing. Unlike “arkadaş” (friend) in Turkish, the concept of “dost” (very close friend) refers to this. If you decide to study in Turkey, yo do not only get a diploma, you can get lifelong friendships that give but also trust and tranquility.
While Turkey is a secular state, people also care about religious holidays and are careful to come together with the family. Below you can see a list of national and religious holidays and public holidays celebrated in the country.
New Year: January 1st
National Sovereignty and Children's Day: April 23rd
Labor and Solidarity Day: May 1st
Atatürk Commemoration, Youth and Sports Day: May 19th
Democracy Day: July 15th
Victory Day: August 30th
Republic Day: October 29th
Ramadan Feast: Changes Yearly
Sacrifice Feast: Changes Yearly