Carmen Neghina

Number of young Turks wanting to study abroad tripled overnight


Turkish students wanting to study abroad tripled after the coup

Why Turkish students want to leave Turkey, where they want to go and what they want to study

It’s been less than a week since the failed military coup in Turkey that has featured heavily in worldwide news. Among the many stories unraveling over the past few days, we can also discuss that of Turkish students wanting to leave their country, with three times as many Turkish students looking for opportunities to study abroad on Studyportals’ platforms just over the past few days.

After a violent night that saw air strikes and gun fire across Turkey, 200 killed and scores more injured, the government retook control of the country. However, many are worried about Turkey’s uncertain future.

After finishing my Bachelors in Ankara in 2012, I moved to Istanbul to start working. Taking a break from my work and going abroad for doing a Master’s degree has always been in my mind for the past years. However, it always felt like it’s difficult to leave my job and this beautiful city. After experiencing the coup attempt which unfortunately brought fear and concerns about my future, I feel like I am ready more than ever for the next step in my career that I have been considering.

Sinan, Industrial Engineer

As young liberal Turks are feeling more and more at an unease in their own country, many are already looking for ways out of Turkey. As a result, more and more Turkish students are looking to study abroad.

I have been living in Istanbul my whole life and I love my city. We are going through difficult years due to political action and people are being divided more and more every day. The only thing we wanted was to be able to live together respectful of different opinions and lifestyles but we failed to pass this message on to a certain group and they don’t seem to respect these principles. I do not want to be in a country where democracy is geared towards a majority deciding what the minority does. The coup attempt was the final straw and I started considering my options for moving abroad. So far studying a PhD seems like the best option to go with and live abroad.

Burcu, Architect

At Studyportals, we operate a number of websites where prospective students can explore their international study options. Currently, we list over 120,000 programmes at more than 2,000 international universities worldwide that together receive over 15 million unique visitors per year. These visitors provide us with unique insights in the educational preferences of tertiary education students all over the world, including Turkey.

Over the weekend, we saw the traffic from visitors of Turkish origin growing day by day. By the end of Monday the 18th of July, we received 2.6 times as many education seekers from Turkey compared to the average of June 2016! While Turkish visitors normally represent approximately 1.4% of our global traffic, they represented 2.0% on Saturday the 16th, 2.5% on Sunday the 17th and 3.3% on Monday the 18th . Clearly, more and more Turkish students are considering to study abroad.

Traffic all portals from Turkey

While the growth in Turkish visitors could be seen on all of our portals, including Bachelorsportal and Mastersportal, the largest spike could be observed on PhDportal, which saw a 4.4-fold increase in traffic from Turkey. If these patterns continue, the country might be facing considerable brain-drain in the near future.

Traffic phdportal from Turkey

Although tragic, the prospective exodus of Turkish intellectuals may offer a bittersweet opportunity for universities and other tertiary education institutions looking to recruit students from this region. Figure 3 shows the top ten countries of destination and the disciplines of study abroad programmes that Turkish students are looking at. Most want to go to Germany, with the UK as a strong second popular destination. The other countries are further behind. Overall, Turkish visitors are mainly interested in North-Western European countries, although some opt for nations with a more Mediterranean climate.

Most Turkish prospective international students are interested in Business & Management, followed by Engineering & Technology and Social Sciences respectively.

Universities and other higher education institutions from coastal countries in Europe are advised to focus their recruitment efforts on these disciplines to draw students who are tired of the current political climate in Turkey.

Destination for Turkey_dashboard

Discpline interest for Turkish students03

Currently, almost as many women as men from Turkey visit our portals. The largest age category of Turkish visitors is the 25-34 range. This category is larger among Turkish visitors (46%) compared to the global average (38%), while all the other age categories are smaller.

Age and Gender Turkey

At Studyportals, we wish Turks the best of luck with whatever educational path they choose, whether domestic or international.

Studyportals ACT

The Analytics and Consulting Team (ACT) at Studyportals combines over 50 years of experience of our consultants. ACT advises and assists universities and other organisations in the higher education sector to realize their ambitions in the field of international marketing and international student recruitment. Our team of consultants cover everything from strategy, branding and marketing to customer relationship management, student recruitment, market insights, competitor analysis, Google analytics, training, as well as custom services. Our three areas of expertise are Analytics, Market Insight & ROI, Consulting and Training.


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Carmen Neghina | | +31 655 875 270

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