Hollanda Araştırma Enstitüsü  -  Nederlands Instituut in Turkije

BA Semester: Turkish Studies in Istanbul

NIT offers a semester of Turkish studies in Istanbul for undergraduate students.

NIT offers an undergraduate-level semester abroad for students of Turkish Studies and Middle Eastern Studies. This semester provides you with a unique possibility to gain knowledge about Turkey, its language, people, and cultures.

During the semester, you follow Turkish language courses as well as courses on the culture and society in Turkey, on the metropolis of Istanbul in the 20th and 21st centuries, and on Turkey’s changing place in the region and the world. All courses are taught by instructors who are specialists in their academic fields.

Please fill out the form by December 1, 2022, if you would like to join the semester. 

For whom?

The semester is primarily intended for students enrolled in Middle Eastern Studies (Faculty of Humanities) at Leiden University. If you are a second-year BA student in this program, you are eligible to attend the NIT Semester. Please get in touch with the student advisor of your program to ask about prerequisites.

If you are a student from another faculty or university and interested in this semester, please contact us directly (below) to check the possibilities.

Program setup and course calendar

Courses offered in the spring of 2023

The NIT offers four courses that add up to 30 EC during the semester. The courses are taught by accomplished instructors who have been affiliated with prestigious universities in Istanbul.

Turkish language acquisition (15 EC)
The NIT provides different levels of Turkish classes designed according to the students’ language levels. The courses aim at developing the students’ comprehension, speaking, writing, and reading skills in addition to improving their cultural understanding.

Turkey in the World: International relations and regional affairs (5 EC)
This course will critically look at Turkey’s changing role in the region. The main objective is to let students acquire thorough knowledge on stability and change in the relationship between Turkey and the EU, MENA, and the Balkan regions within a political historical context. Attention will be given to contemporary trends in regional affairs, but also to complexities of the past.

Istanbul in the 20th and 21st century (5 EC)
This course investigates the history and development of Turkey through the lens of its biggest metropolis. Istanbul was the capital of the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman empires under different names and has for centuries been the historical, political, cultural, and economic heart of the region. To this day Istanbul continues to be the economic and cultural center of Turkey, despite losing its status as the capital city to Ankara. The course deals with topics of urbanization, industrialization, population dynamics, minorities, migration, heritage, urban renewal, and gentrification.

Society and Culture in Contemporary Turkey (5 EC)
This course will explore different aspects of the process of social and cultural change in Turkey since the formation of the nation-state. Weekly meetings will be devoted to lectures and discussions on issues such as modernization, Westernization, national identity, citizenship, ethnic and religious minorities, gender and secularism in Turkey.


During the course weeks of the semester, you have about 12 hours of instruction per week. Additionally, you will have homework, assignments, and projects to work on individually and with your fellow students.
The language of instruction is English. Turkish language classes are offered at several levels, from near beginner to heritage speaker. At the start of the semester, the most appropriate level for each student will be assessed.

Further activities

In addition to class excursions, there will be occasional extracurricular trips organized within Istanbul. These activities will not only expose you to different aspects of Turkish society and history but will also contribute to extending your Turkish network. 


If you are thinking about taking the NIT semester, please fill out and submit the following form by December 1, 2022.

We realize that you may have to wait for the results of your exams and resits of the first semester before you know for certain that you can join the semester. Nevertheless, whether you already have or are still waiting for permission, we recommend that you send us the NIT registration form as soon as possible.

The Institute
The institute is located in the central district of Beyoğlu, on the main pedestrian street Istiklal Caddesi. This is a lively neighborhood, with many shops, restaurants, nightlife, and other things to do. The institute has a well-equipped library with study places. The staff of the institute is always available for assistance regarding your semester at NIT.

Please click here to see the outline of the preliminary academic calendar for 2023.

Get in touch

For all your questions about the semester, the academics, and the practicalities, please get in touch with semester coordinator Dr. Aysel Arslan at aysel.arslan@nit-istanbul.org.
For information about university prerequisites and permissions, as well as about financial support options offered by Leiden University, please contact your student advisor at the university.