TURKEY: Istanbul


The program in Istanbul, Turkey is currently suspended due to safety concerns. KEI will restart the program after the situation improves. Contact a KEI Program Manager for more information.

KEI organizes cultural activities in Istanbul, a Bosporus Ferry Tour, a day trip to Prince Island and an overnight field trip to Izmir and Ephesus. Transportation, lodging and admission for planned activities are included in the program fee. KEI reserves the right to change planned excursions for destinations of equal value and interest. Excursions may change based on availability, local festivals and interest. Academic year and multiple term students participate on planned excursions during their first term of study.


Students will discover Istanbul throughout the program, starting with the orientation. Cultural activities include…

  • Hagia Sophia, one of the greatest marvels of architecture, constructed as a basilica in the 6th century by Emperor Justinian.
  • Blue Mosque, facing Hagia Sophia, famous for its blue Iznik tiles and unique with 6 minarets, built in the name of Sultan Ahmet.
  • Hippodrome, center of sporting events (chariot races, athletics) and political activities of the old city. The Serpentine Column, the Obelisk of Theodosius and the German Fountain of Wilhelm II are the monuments decorating the Hippodrome.
  • Grand Covered Bazaar, the most attractive shopping center and the biggest “souk” in the world with nearly 4,000 shops selling antiques, jewelry, gold, carpets, leatherware and souvenirs.
  • Istiklal street, which stretches from Taksim to Tunel, is filled with traditional Turkish fare, modern stores, souvenir shops and cafes galore.

Bosporus Ferry Tour

The Bosphorus Tour ferry sails north from Istanbul, up the Bosphorus, almost to the Black Sea, then back again. Along the way it stops at various ports, letting visitors explore coastal villages.

Kizil Adalar (Prince Island)

A ferry ride from Istanbul is a picturesque island that reminds visitors of a simpler time. Horse and buggy are still the main mode of transportation. The quaintness is a drastic contrast to bustling Istanbul.

Izmir & Ephesus

Izmir (ancient Smyrna) was founded in 3000 BC by the Trojans. This was the birthplace of Homer, who was thought to have lived here around the 8th century BC. Today it is the third largest city and second largest port in Turkey. Izmir’s Ancient Agora was once a bustling Roman bazaar and today you can still see Colonnades of Corinthian columns, vaulted chambers and a reconstructed arch making it one of the best preserved Agoras in the world. The ruins of Alexander the Great’s Castle, Kadifekale (meaning “the velvet castle” in Turkish), sits atop a hill overlooking the city below.

Ephesus is a large archeological site in Aegean Turkey. Students visit the House of Virgin Mary, where she is said to have spent her final years. The group will also explore the white-marble Ancient City of Ephesus, including the Library of Celsus, Royal Marble Paved Avenue, Hadrian’s Gate, Agora, Trojan Fountain, Domitianus Temple, Theater and Roman Latrines, Temple of Artemisand, the Archaeology Museum and the Isabey Mosque, a classic example of Selcuk Turkish architecture with intricate carvings.

We appreciate everything you did for Hunter (KEI student) while he was in Istanbul. Hunter absolutely flourished during this experience – he loved it. Istanbul is in his bones now. Certainly, the people he met while he was there have an awful lot to do with why this experience was so special for him.Istanbul is just an awesome city, and Cappadocia, Pamukkale and Ephesus was visually spectacular and educationally interesting. Thanks for everything, and best wishes. Jenny (parent)

Hunter Street
Hunter StreetUniversity of North Carolina - Charlotte

I am loving my stay in Istanbul. I feel like I’ve done so much and seen so much already. Very excited for the near future. Feeling very welcome and KEI is helping me adjust quite well.

Nasri Mohamed
Nasri MohamedAugsburg College