Situated between Europe and Asia, Turkey is in a unique position to highlight some of the best qualities of both. The beautiful Mediterranean coastline mixes with mountain ranges and farmlands. In more suburban and urban areas you will be delighted by skylines shaped by a mixture of modern and Ottoman architecture and find colorful markets filled with ceramics, fabrics, handicrafts, exotic spices, rich Turkish coffee and an energetic game of tavla (backgammon board game).

Soccer is the most popular sport in Turkey to watch and to play, but it won’t be hard to find friends interested in volleyball, basketball, bicycling and swimming. Movies, picnics and gathering at friends’ homes also occupy teen’s time outside of school.

People & Community

You could live anywhere in Turkey, but you’re most likely to be in or near one of the five main cities: Adana, Izmir, Eskisehir, Istanbul or Ankara. In the evenings, it’s very common for Turkish families to gather around the dinner table and watch TV and drink tea together. Expect a flow of friends and relatives visiting for coffee, tea and lively conversations.


You’ll probably attend an anatolian high school, which is a university preparatory secondary school. A typical school day lasts for 7 or 8 hours and allows students to specialize in either mathematics and science or social studies. Most exchange students attend public schools, but some also get placed in a private high school. 


While Turkish is the primary language, English, French, German and Italian are spoken by many people around the country. Having a basic knowledge of English will be helpful. AFS will provide language lessons, and local volunteers may help arrange independent language study for you during your first months in Turkey.

A photo posted by lisa 🌜 (@indigofawn) on May 7, 2016 at 9:09am PDT

A photo posted by Raquel Martinez (@rademark) on Feb 17, 2016 at 9:50am PST


Turkish dishes combine Mediterranean and Middle Eastern styles and are quite rich and varied. Eggplant is the number one vegetable and is often paired with meat in a shish kebab. Food is cooked mostly with olive oil and herbs in the western part of the country, whereas meals can be very spicy and meat oriented in the eastern part of Turkey. Lamb, beef and rice are common ingredients and seafood is abundant on the coast. If you have a sweet tooth, you’re in luck because Turkey is famous for its desserts, especiallybaklava, a sweet pastry, and milk pudding. 

Let AFS guide your intercultural adventure

Go abroad with AFS to discover who you really are, make new lifetime friendships and immerse yourself in a fascinating intercultural experience.

Our learning program will prepare you for an amazing AFS intercultural experience. The program begins at your home country with a pre-departure orientation and continues with orientations and other supported learning activities and facilitated conversations will help you maximize your experience, cope the challenges of navigating a new culture and community and gain knowledge, skills, and a global understanding, throughout your time abroad, and as you return to you home country. AFS volunteers will be there to support and guide you and your host family through your learning journey abroad.


The Global Competence Certificate (GCC) program will support your intercultural learning experience. This state-of-the-art program prepares you to successfully navigate new cultural environments—during your AFSNext experience and long after you finish the program. Online intercultural learning modules combined with in-person sessions help you develop practical and global skills, knowledge and attitudes that employers need and mission-driven organizations believe will help achieve their social impact goals. You will receive your certification upon completion of the training program.