Area Studies and Culture

Summer ~ Semester ~ Academic Year

The Lexia in Istanbul program introduces students to the history, politics, economics, art, and architecture of Turkey. The program comprises coursework, language training, excursions, and a field research project. These elements contribute to students’ understanding of Turkish culture and issues in the Eastern Mediterranean region.

The program strongly supports interaction and dialogue between Lexia participants and Turkish faculty and students. To this end, local students and faculty are involved with the program from the very beginning, giving the participants immediate and direct access to the culture.

No prior knowledge of Turkish is required, as all courses are taught in English. However, intensive language training is provided, thereby helping students to develop the skills and confidence to live, study and conduct research in the Turkish setting. Social and academic encounters with local students, as well as organized field trips, contribute to a greater understanding of Turkey.


"Our language class was great. We had a private, professional teacher who was able to give us her full attention. These small classes were extremely helpful. The professor was extremely flexible by taking our suggestions for different class material."


Program Options

Students on the Lexia Istanbul Area Studies and Culture program can choose whether to study abroad for a five-week summer term, a semester, or the academic year. When deciding how long to study abroad, students should consult their academic advisor, financial aid counselor, study abroad office and their family. Lexia staff can assist students with this decision. A list of courses and course descriptions can be found below:


Summer Program

Students on the Lexia Istanbul Area Studies and Culture summer program take two courses for a total of 8 semester credits or 12 quarter credits. 

  • Turkish Area Studies and Culture Seminar
  • Turkish Language Course


Semester Program

Students on the Lexia Istanbul Area Studies and Culture semester program take four courses for a total of 16 semester credits or 24 quarter credits. 

  • Turkish Area Studies and Culture Seminar
  • Turkish Language Course
  • Research Methods Seminar
  • Field Research Project 


Academic Year

Students on the Lexia Istanbul Area Studies and Culture academic year program take eight courses during two semesters for a total of 32 semester credits or 48 quarter credits. 

Students on academic year programs complete the regular semester program described above during the first semester. In the second semester, students continue language training and their Field Research Project and choose two Elective Courses to complete their academic program. Key to a second semester in Istanbul is designing a program of study that immerses the student in the local culture via language study, internship or volunteer experiences, course work, and independent study and projects. Students are also encouraged to consider spending the spring semester at a different Lexia site, conducting a comparative or complementary Field Research Project. 

Semester 1

  • Turkish Area Studies and Culture Seminar
  • Turkish Language Course
  • Research Methods Seminar
  • Field Research Project

Semester 2

  • Field Research Project
  • Turkish Language Course
  • Elective Course 1
  • Elective Course 2



Turkish Area Studies and Culture Seminar (Four semester/six quarter credits)

The Turkish Area Studies and Culture Seminar is designed to introduce students to a variety of topics in Turkish history, art, architecture, politics, society, and economics.  Class format ranges from lectures and discussions to the close reading of documents and art works, and incorporates several excursions within the city of Istanbul. Grades are determined on the basis of class discussion, participation in the excursions, and written work, including a midterm and a final examination consisting of extended essay questions. Classroom time totals approximately 60 hours, including instruction during excursions.


Turkish Language Course (Four semester/six quarter credits)

Turkish language courses are taught at the elementary, intermediate, or advanced levels at the Bogazici University Lifelong Learning Center (BULLC) with other international students.


Research Methods Seminar (Four semester/six quarter credits)

This seminar teaches a range of methods for engaging in sustained, original inquiry in the field and sets the framework for developing rigorous, individual projects. By exposing the students to the diverse environments of Istanbul and Turkey, this course encourages students to examine and revise their ideas of Turkish culture. By extension, students begin to question their own sense of self and to explore the culturally embedded nature of identities in general.

The course introduces a variety of research skills, methodologies and techniques including reading, listening, observing, choosing, questioning, summarizing, organizing, writing, presenting, and reflecting. A variety of techniques for collecting and analyzing data will also be examined.

Istanbul offers students a myriad of visual and cultural encounters, from architecture to the collections of images housed in museums, to the fascinating, often fleeting exchanges on every street corner and subway ride. Through a series of visual and writing exercises, students explore language ability, visual skills, ethical issues, theorizing about experience, and how to synthesize field knowledge into original work and/or formal academic writing.

Field Research Project (Four semester/six quarter credits)

The Field Research Project offers students the opportunity to pursue an independent, self-designed project in a specialized field of interest. A faculty member, professional, artist, architect, or other mentor serves as advisor for the project, meeting periodically with the student to provide necessary supervision and support. For academic year students, one topic may be explored in-depth throughout the academic year or different topics may be chosen each semester. Students are encouraged to use their language skills and knowledge of the local culture and subject matter to investigate their selected topic(s).

The range of potential projects is wide – from public culture and fine arts to urban life and business. The final product can take a variety of forms, but must express a rigorous, sustained inquiry into the chosen topic and demonstrate the student’s ability to engage with the resources available in Istanbul. Projects might range from a 20-25 page paper or summary of laboratory work to a collection of short stories or personal essays, dance performance, photo essay, or other project.

Students spend a minimum of 60 hours per semester conducting research for their project, meeting for a minimum of eight hours with their advisor and/or the Resident Director. A week at the end of each semester is planned for the synthesis of the students’ findings, writing, or other work, followed by the presentation and discussion of the projects in the group.

Grades for the Field Research Project are based on the required paper or project, meetings with the advisor and the final presentation. The faculty advisor and the Resident Director make final grade assessments. The final project must be submitted before departure from Istanbul. Late projects are not accepted.

Past projects have included:

  • Women and Turkish Higher Education
  • Eco-Tourism in Turkey
  • Foreign Participation in the Istanbul Stock Exchange
  • Justinian and the Hagia Sophia


Elective Courses (Four semester/six quarter credits)

Elective Courses are offered in Turkish or English, depending upon availability and student interest. Lexia will accommodate the student’s first choice for an elective whenever possible. Students are also encouraged to suggest their own independent studies topics.


Dates & Deadlines

Coming soon!


Dormitory: Students live in the international dormitory, the so-called ‘Superdorm’, at Bogazici University which houses both Turkish and foreign students in comfortable two, three and four bedroom apartments with bathrooms and kitchens equipped with the basic necessities.



The program fee covers all Lexia excursions, which are designed to help students discover areas and aspects of culture that are typically less easily accessible to tourists and give a broad representation of the breadth of Turkish culture and its people. Excursions outside of Istanbul may include some of the following:

Iznik: Hagia Sophia; The Green Mosque; Esrefzade Mosque; Istanbul Gate and Lefke Gate

Troy: Ancient city and ruins

Izmir: Konak Square; coastline along the Aegean sea; Kadifekale castle; Asansör

Ephesus: The Library of Celsus; Basilica of St. John; The Temple of Artemis; The Temple of Domitian; The Temple of Hadrian, Odeon

Bodrum: Castle of St. Peter; The Bodrum Amphitheater; Myndos Gate

Antalya: Ancient ruins and archaeology museum; Aspendos Theater; Kaleiçi, old quarter


Integrated into some of the courses, excursions in and around Istanbul are an essential part of the Lexia program. These field trips can include:

  • The Haghia Sophia
  • The Blue Mosque
  • The Archaeological Museum
  • Topkapi Palace
  • Süleymaniye Mosque
  • Dolmabahçe Palace
  • Mevlevi Monastery

The Lexia staff regularly informs students of cultural events outside the program and independent travel opportunities available to them.



Semester: $15,950
Tuition: $12,600
Housing: $3,350

Academic Year: $28,950
Tuition: $22,250
Housing: $6,700

Summer: $5,950
Tuition: $4,275
Housing: $1,675


Program Fees Include:

  • On-Site Orientation (2-4 days)
  • All Tuition and Fees
  • All Scheduled Program Excursions
  • Housing Costs
  • Services of Lexia Resident Director and Program Staff
  • Comprehensive Medical Insurance Policy
  • International Student Identity Card (ISIC)
  • Official Transcript from Elizabethtown College



Not included in the Program Fee are the following estimated expenses based past students' experiences during the semester-long program:

  • Airfare Ranges from $800-1,200
  • Meals $680                
  • Books & Supplies $150
  • Personal Expenses $850

Estimated Total Additional Expenses: $2,480 – $2,880

Students should also remember to budget for independent travel during the one-week break within the semester.  If desired, students may choose to remain in their Lexia accommodation in Istanbul during the break at no additional cost.


Instructors & Institutions

The Lexia in Istanbul program is affiliated with the Bogazici University Lifelong Learning Center (BULLC). Lexia students are enrolled at the BULLC and have access to the libraries and other University facilities.  One of the recognized strengths of the Lexia in Istanbul program is the  supportive faculty and staff. Courses are primarily taught by Turkish professors at Bogazici University, a premier university in Istanbul where English is the medium of instruction. More information can be obtained from the BULLC's website:



The typical course load is four courses per semester. Students who successfully complete Lexia’s program requirements are able to earn the equivalent of one full semester or academic year of college/university level credit, pending approval from their home institution.

It is the student’s responsibility to be aware of the credit transfer policies at his/her home institution and department, including advising appointments, paperwork and pre-departure or re-entry activities. We strongly suggest that students contact their study abroad or other appropriate office early in the planning stage to ensure that they complete all requirements.


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