The Benefits of Studying Abroad (Pt. 2)

Author: Claire Solomon

Moyan Brenn / Flickr

Excitement, hopefulness, confusion—thinking about applying for study abroad leaves a person with a lot of emotions. It’s natural to feel indecisive about where to apply: Notre Dame offers over 40 programs in more than 21 countries.

Notre Dame International’s newest program, in Istanbul, Turkey, has everything an ambitious, independent student would want in a study abroad experience. And although it is off the beaten path, it is open to students in every college and has no language requirement.

Istanbul is one of the top five tourist destinations worldwide and is on the fast track to becoming one of the most popular study abroad locations for international students.

Notre Dame students will have the opportunity to study at Koç University beginning next fall. Located 30 minutes from the city center, the university may be only 23 years old, but it has already made a name for itself in the international world of education as one of the highest ranked young universities in the world and is in the top five universities in Turkey.

“Koç has strength as a new university … and a growing research base to their work,” Kathleen Opel, director of study abroad, says. “It has a very strong faculty in a strong research-based institution, and that was part of the reason why [Vice President of Notre Dame International] Nicholas Entrikin decided we should have a program there.” 

The school boasts a richly educated faculty that produces a myriad of publications and has attended some of the finest universities in the world — including some of the best in the United States, such as MIT, Princeton and Stanford. Koç University offers a multitude of opportunities for its students — both domestic and international — including opportunities in its 104 research labs, over 80 student clubs, an international service learning group called KU Global Aid and an international students’ society.

Notre Dame will send up to four students to Istanbul for the 2016-2017 school year. Although it is currently a turbulent time in southern Turkey, ND International is confident that any tensions will be completely mitigated by next year and wants to remind students that study abroad locations are always subject to changes due to safety and security concerns.

 “This is wide open and new for us … I think that [there are many] opportunities to learn something new, something different than [you] might get elsewhere,” Opel says. “It’s not Western … but at the same time it’s not exactly Asian either. It’s a real hybrid, an international city. It’s an important place historically to study in.”

Interested in learning more? Contact Kathleen Opel at or check out more information online at Notre Dame International’s website (