Enrollment in foreign language courses on the rise as youth want to move abroad

Turkish youth want to study and work abroad more than ever now in the face of high cost of living and deteriorating working conditions. The number of students enrolling at language courses is on the rise with families supporting their dreams of going abroad.

Pelin Akdemir / Gazete Duvar

Turkish youth’s interest in foreign language courses has increased as many of them are looking forward to moving abroad amid deteriorating living and working conditions in Turkey.

The owner of a language course said that many of their attendees prefer to study abroad due to concerns for their future and decreasing trust in Turkish universities. “A student makes an expense of 100,000 liras for every year they study here, whereas when they go abroad to study, they can earn money by working at a part-time job…Even if a minimum wage earner gives all of their salary to their child going to college here, it would not be sufficient. And when families look at the cost of going to college (for their children), they say, ‘Let them study abroad,’” Fatma Kahraman told Gazete Duvar.

Those wanting to study abroad mostly prefer the U.S. or Europe as their destination. The 12-grader Toprak Yazıcı plans to move to either Ireland or Germany for university education. “I prefer abroad since Turkey is problematic in terms of its economy. I have prepared for the language exam for four months and passed the exam with a score of 7 out of 9…There are thousands of people here who go to university but can’t find a job appropriate for themselves,” Yazıcı said. 

Another 12th grader Ege Nal is preparing to move to Germany to study in college. He said that he will receive a scholarship of 1,000 euros every month which will be enough to cover his living expenses. As for why he wants to study abroad, Nal said: “I will get free of this society which is getting bigotter every day. Even if we graduate from Turkey’s best university now, there is the risk of not finding a job. But, by studying abroad and learning both English and Germany, there is more opportunity to find a job.”

“After graduating from college, I want to come back to my country and undertake investment. If the President does not change, I would stay there for another five years. I would come back when he changes.”

Architect Oğuzhan Ulama is going to a language course to do a master’s degree in Germany. He said that architects in Turkey mostly choose Italy, Spain and Poland to go to.

He said that Turkish universities have had a so much decrease in their education quality in recent years that a diploma received from many of them do not have any meaning at all. “Many people are applying for master’s degrees to be able to live abroad. If I can find a job, I am thinking of staying abroad because I have friends here who are unemployed even though they have their master’s degrees from abroad. It is possible to find a job (in Turkey), but at a minimum wage. That is a shame on labor itself. The value of labor is very low in Turkey.”

(English version by Didem Atakan)