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“Concern for future” key for outbound Turks

Prospective international students from Turkey are increasingly opting to study abroad in order to boost career prospects, while reporting they are “concerned” about their future, according to a survey carried out by International Education Fairs of Turkey.

Students seek to stand out by studying abroad, in the face of "stiff competition" in professional life in Turkey. Photo: pixabay

China, Russia and South Korea are all noted in the survey as increasing in popularity

“Young people living in Turkey are concerned about their future in general”

For 38% of students surveyed, the key factor that leads them to study abroad was worries over careers and the future, the organisation said.

Its 2018 fall survey is based on 25,000 online pre-registration forms for its October fairs, and around 850 student and parent interviews.

Other factors enticing students to go abroad include perceived problems with the Turkish educational system (24%), inadequacy of EFL teaching in country (20%), and issues with the examination system (13%).

“These answers reveal that young people living in Turkey are concerned about their future in general,” the organisation noted.

The student fair prides itself on its visitors’ English ability – more than 60% of IEFT visitors’ English level is Intermediate or above, according to the survey – and IEFT pointed to a “clear sign” of increased demand for graduate programs at its fairs.

Of the total student visitors, 31% were interested in master’s programs abroad, 21% sought bachelor’s programs, while 17% were interested in language study, 4% in doctoral programs, 4% in summer schools, and 2% in high school programs.

After completing bachelors programs in Turkey, graduates are faced with “stiff competition in professional life”, according to IEFT.

“Realising the intensity of that competition, students are looking for various ways through which they can make themselves stand out,” the organisation highlighted.

Top destinations for Turkish students remain unchanged – Canada, the UK, and the US are cited as favourites – with one destination standing out for Turkish parents.

“Especially recently, Canada has apparently won parents’ hearts… it has become increasingly popular among them even though it is very far away from Turkey.”

The allure of Canada is furthered by its perceived safety, the “friendly and non-nationalistic” inhabitants, and that it is “more possible to build a future in Canada when compared to other countries”.

“Canada has apparently won parents’ hearts”

Favourable exchange rates with Canada, compared with British and US currency, visa problems between US and Turkey, the perception of costly living standards in the UK, the survey suggested.

However, other options are opening up for prospective students.

China, Russia and South Korea are all noted in the survey as increasing in popularity for Turkish students, while Germany and Italy are the preferred among European destinations.

Turkey’s “improved relationship” with Russia and trade opportunities amplified the country’s study options, while China has “become the centre of trade”, the survey indicated.

“The fact that China has been preferred despite the language barrier proves that young people are willing to take risks in facing the challenges when considering their future,” IEFT stated.

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