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Istanbul: Education, Healthcare, Housing

Are you about to start expat life in Istanbul? You should definitely plan ahead: Istanbul’s hustle and bustle and maze-like structure can massively overwhelm newcomers. Our guide to Istanbul helps you prepare, with advice on international schools, healthcare, housing, and much more.

There are a vast number of public and private universities in Istanbul, which offer many opportunities for higher education. Some of the public universities in Istanbul are:

  • Istanbul University
  • Galatasaray University
  • Marmara University
  • Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts
  • Yildiz Technical University

The Istanbul University, for instance, has 20 faculties, 3 departments, 3 schools, 17 institutes and 27 research and study centers all over the city. Most of the faculties, colleges and some administrative offices are located in Beyazit, Lalaeli, Sarachane, and Vezneciler.

For more information on admission, enrollment and fees, it is always best to contact the university directly.

Taking Care of Your Health

There are many hospitals in Istanbul which offer excellent medical care. Most of them are JCI accredited and equipped with the newest technology. Internationally trained doctors and nurses cater to the needs of residents and visitors alike. The main hospitals for expats are:

  • American Hospital
  • International Hospital
  • German Hospital
  • Acibadem Memorial
  • Florence Nightingale Hospital

These hospitals do not just offer basic check-ups and treatments. They also have special units for plastic surgery, organ transplantation or lasik eye treatments. Special needs concerning psychological issues or nutrition and diet are also addressed.

Have a look at our article about living in Turkey to learn more about the Turkish healthcare system in general.

Pharmacy Hours

In Istanbul, pharmacies are indicated by a white, square sign with the letter “E”. Most pharmacists and chemists (eczan) are open between 10:00 and 19:00, Monday through Saturday. In addition, every neighborhood has at least one on-call pharmacy (nöbetci eczane), which you can visit in case of emergency. They are available between 19:00 and 10:00.

If you are unable to reach a pharmacy near you, you can contact a medicine delivery service instead. This service will deliver your medication to your doorstep 24/7 for a small fee. However, remember that operators may not speak English.

In Case of Emergency…

In case of a medical emergency, call 112. This state service is free and can be reached from any phone. It may, however, not offer the same quality or have the same reaction time as private ambulance services.

Alternatively, you can contact the ambulance service of your health insurance provider.

Looking for a Place to Live

Rental prices in Istanbul vary strongly, depending on the location of your new home. Rents for a one bedroom apartment in the city center vary between 1,000 TRY and 2,000 TRY. Advance payments of 6 to 12 months and a security deposit are the norm in Istanbul. Additionally, your landlord may ask you to pay your rent in Euro or USD.

To search for housing, try searching online classifieds, as they have the advantage of being up-to-date. Alternatively, you can take the old-fashioned route and buy the weekend editions of local newspapers such as HürriyetMilliyet or Zaman.

However, private real estate ads may only be in Turkish. If you have not picked up the local language yet, you should hire a real estate agent to help you find housing in Istanbul.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

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