Residence Life


Please refer


Türkiye has a 230V power system and uses C or F-type plugs that are compatible with most electrical items worldwide. Items brought from certain countries will need adaptors that are conveniently available in Türkiye or can be purchased before traveling to Türkiye. Electric appliances purchased in Türkiye do not need adaptors.

Drinking Water

In Istanbul, people usually do not drink tap water. However, they use it for all other purposes such as cooking, making tea, or coffee. Drinking tap water is not advisable in Istanbul. Bottled water can be purchased from supermarkets, grocery stores in various sizes. 19-20 liter demijohn (damacana in Turkish) waters can be ordered online or by phone from various water companies. Fountain water is safe to drink in Istanbul, wherever available.

Ordering Water

In Türkiye people order bottled water where drinking tap water is not very safe. This can be done either by calling the water companies or via some mobile apps or online from a computer. Below, you can find a link to a sample order form that belongs to a company. There aren’t many English language online ordering websites. For first-time orders the companies might charge a deposit fee and a water pump must be purchased. These are sold at grocery stores and water companies.

Online Order: Mobile App to order from your smartphone from multiple companies:

Tip: You can always ask a roommate or neighbor for help when ordering your first bottle and the rest will be very easy.


If, due to your living situation, you have to pay for the utilities yourself, there are a few ways to do this. You can pay at authorized utility payment offices, banks, via internet banking, and automatic payment via your bank. You can set up an automatic payment with your bills at the bank in person or on your bank’s website or mobile app. Except for these payment methods, do not pay anyone for the utilities.

To learn more about utilities, refer to our off-campus accommodation guide.

Telephones, Making Calls, Foreign Mobile Devices, Cell Phones
There are fixed phones available in dorm rooms, graduate apartments, faculty houses, and faculty/staff offices on campus. The IT department at KU manages these phones, and any inquiries related to them should be directed to

Land Lines

In Türkiye, each city has a unique area code consisting of 3 digits, while local phone numbers consist of 7 digits. Istanbul, however, has two area codes, one for the Asian side (216) and another for the European side (212). When making a phone call from a landline to someone within the same city or continent (in the case of Istanbul), there is no need to dial the area code. However, when calling from a cell phone, the area code must always be dialed, and a “0” prefix must be added before the area code whenever required.
Example: A local landline number in the European district of Istanbul is 346 7456. To call from a cell phone or any other location with a different area code, you must dial 0212 346 7456.

Mobile Operators

Türkiye has three major mobile operators: Turkcell, Vodafone, and Turk Telekom. Each operator is assigned a 3-digit mobile prefix, similar to an area code. When making calls from mobile to mobile or landline to mobile, the area codes with a “0” in the beginning must be dialed. The incoming calls on your cell phone might sometimes appear with the default country code +90, which does not affect anything. When saving a cell phone number, you may leave or remove this prefix as you prefer.

International Calls

To call a phone in another country from any phone in Türkiye, you must dial Türkiye’s international access prefix 00, followed by the Country Code, Area Code, and Local Phone Number. When calling Türkiye from abroad, the same process applies, except that the international access prefix for each country would be different: International Access Prefix + 90 (Türkiye Country Code) + Area Code + Local Number. For instance, to call Koc University from abroad, you would dial 00 90 212 338 1000. Apart from various internet and mobile tools for free or low-fee international calls, you can also purchase calling cards from newsstands as an option.

Registering Mobile Phones

According to the regulations set forth by the Information and Communication Technologies Authority of Türkiye (ICTA), all individuals, regardless of nationality, entering Türkiye with a phone or mobile device with call features must register their device within 120 days of arrival. Registration is limited to one device per person/per passport every three years. Failure to register within 120 days will result in the device being blocked for calls, though other features, including emergency calls, can still be used. Visitors, foreign residents, or students staying in Türkiye for more than 120 days must register their devices as per the instructions on our website:

Please note that temporary visitors, one-semester exchange students, faculty or interns, summer school students, and similar cases DO NOT need to register their devices if they are staying in Türkiye for less than 120 days. Detailed instructions and a tutorial video are available for individuals with a valid Turkish residence permit or work permit in Türkiye to assist them in avoiding additional fees at mobile operator branches when registering their phones. By following the instructions and paying the official registration fee (subject to change) for phone registration at a bank or tax office, you can register your phone. Dealers may charge varying service fees in addition to the registration fee, so it is advised to wait to obtain your residence permit within 120 days. Residence permits are typically received within 30-45 days from the application date.

Cell Phones in Türkiye

For mobile phones in Türkiye, you have the option of prepaid/pay-as-you-go plans or monthly plans without contracts. The three major operators offering both prepaid and monthly plans are Turkcell, Vodafone, and Turk Telekom. To make an informed choice, we recommend visiting their authorized dealer stores (all with branches in Sariyer) to review the latest offerings for yourself. Additionally, all plans can be viewed on their websites, and you can call the customer services of the operators to receive assistance in English. If you do not know Turkish, it might be helpful to visit the stores with a Turkish-speaking friend.

We hope this information helps you navigate telephones and mobile services in Türkiye effectively. If you have any further questions or require assistance, please feel free to reach out to the relevant offices or explore the provided links for additional information. We are here to support you during your time at the university.

Shopping & Spending


As Istanbul is a densely populated city, each town district offers its own array of shops, stores, eateries, schools, hospitals, and more. This means you won’t have to travel far to meet your needs. The university’s main campus includes a convenient grocery store where you can find most of your essentials. Additionally, downtown Sariyer, along the main street, hosts a diverse selection of shops to cater to all your requirements. Here are some shopping tips and information about spending:

– The website serves as an excellent resource for browsing stores and businesses by category. Though the site is in Turkish, with basic knowledge of the language, you can access directions and contact information for various local businesses. Many of these businesses also offer delivery services.

Weekly Fruits and Vegetables Market Place (Pazar)

Similar to some other countries, Türkiye also has traditional community marketplaces called “Pazar” (unrelated to the word for Sunday). Each day, the Pazar moves to different streets in various districts for the convenience of residents. People prefer shopping from Pazars due to the availability of the freshest produce at reasonable prices. Most items are priced based on weight (kilo basis). Bargaining is commonly practiced at Pazars. Some sellers allow you to personally feel and select the goods, while others may not. If you want to know where and when your local Pazar is, simply ask a local depending on your location in Istanbul. Keep in mind that only cash is accepted at Pazars.

In Sarıyer, there are two Pazars each week:
1. Neighborhood Pazar (Sariyer Local Pazar) in Maden district. Available every Wednesday, also known as Çarşamba Pazarı, the Wednesday Market in English.
2. Organic Pazar next to Sarıyer Elementary School. Available every Monday.

Town of Sarıyer

Koç University is situated in the town of Sarıyer, which offers a vibrant cultural scene with year-round theatre, dance, music, and art events organized by the Sariyer Municipality. To stay updated about the events and happenings in Sarıyer, you can visit the Sariyer Municipality website at Though the site is in Turkish, even with basic knowledge of the language, you can browse through the events organized in the town.

For a comprehensive presentation about Sarıyer, including its attractions and highlights, please visit our website:


To plan your budget while living in Istanbul, you can refer to for up-to-date information on the cost of living. Numbeo provides a wide range of expense types, helping you to make informed financial decisions in the city.

Additionally, you can find more insights into the cost of living in Istanbul by visiting the following websites:

Shopping Malls

Istanbul boasts numerous modern shopping malls, some of which are highly popular among tourists. These shopping centers are commonly referred to as AVM’s, which stand for “Alış-Veriş Merkezi” in Turkish. One of the largest shopping malls is located in Sarıyer, specifically in Istinye. Known as Istinye Park, this mall offers a plethora of shops, events, and restaurants for an enjoyable shopping experience. You can find more information about Istinye Park on its website:

If you’re interested in exploring other shopping malls in Istanbul, you can refer to this list, which provides information about most, if not all, shopping malls in the city:

As you immerse yourself in the cultural richness and shopping delights of Sarıyer and Istanbul, we hope these resources serve as helpful guides for a memorable experience in this vibrant city. For further assistance or inquiries, don’t hesitate to reach out or explore the provided links for more details. Enjoy your time in Istanbul!

Koç Ailem Privileges
Faculty, staff, and students receive a special advantage card called Koc Ailem (My Koc Family). This card provides exclusive discounts for individuals affiliated with the Koç Group at all Koç Companies, as well as additional benefits at museums, events, and other brands. For any inquiries related to Koc Ailem membership, card delivery, activation, or family membership, please direct your questions to the Human Resources office.

To stay updated about the latest advantages and offers available with the Koc Ailem card, visit

For more detailed information, please refer to our website:

Enjoy the privileges and benefits of being a part of the Koc Ailem community, and if you have any further questions or require assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Human Resources office. We are here to ensure you make the most of your Koc Ailem membership.

Turkish Currency
Turkish Currency – Lira

The Turkish Lira (Türk Lirası, TL, or TRY) serves as the official currency for Türkiye. The symbol used for the Turkish Lira is ₺.

Banknotes are available in various denominations, ranging from TL 1 to TL 200. Additionally, coins come in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25, 50, and 1 TL. Refer to the image below for a visual representation of the TL banknotes and coins currently in active circulation:

When dealing with monetary transactions in Türkiye, you’ll be using the Turkish Lira, and it’s beneficial to familiarize yourself with the various banknotes and coins to facilitate your day-to-day activities.

Money, Banking, Tipping

Bank Account

Opening a bank account in Türkiye is possible only after receiving your residence permit. Banks require a valid residence permit card and proof of address from foreigners to open accounts. Once you obtain your residence/work permit, it is recommended to open a bank account with a local bank. This will grant you access to an ATM and credit card, allowing you to avoid extra fees and enjoy convenient banking services.

Employees and scholarship students at KU will be requested to open an account at Yapi Kredi Bank on campus. Being a Koc Group company, Yapı Kredi Bank offers various benefits to affiliates of KU, such as exemption from dues and surcharges, no fees for non-Yapi Kredi ATMs, free credit cards, and no fees on direct deposits for stipends or salaries. To open an account with Yapi Kredi Bank, you will need your residence/work permit card and an address declaration letter. Faculty and staff can obtain this letter from the Human Resources Office’s payroll unit, while students on scholarship or receiving stipends from the Housing Office (S building) can also obtain it.


ATMs are readily available throughout Istanbul and Türkiye, making cash withdrawals and other transactions convenient. Similar to ATMs worldwide, you can select your preferred language and complete transactions with ease. At KU, you can find ATMs located at the main campus Student Center -1st floor, Dormitory S building, and West Campus. Each bank in Türkiye has its own mobile app and internet banking website, both of which are widely popular due to their online accessibility. Using these resources, you can easily locate the nearest ATM of your bank.

In Türkiye, ATM card passwords (pin) are limited to a 4-digit number, containing only numbers, not letters. If your home country’s ATM pin includes letters, you can either update your pin before coming to Türkiye or translate the letters into numbers based on the keypad’s layout.

While the language on the ATM keys is generally Turkish, color codes assist in identifying the key functions:
– Sil (Yellow) = Delete
– İptal (Red) = Cancel
– Giriş (Green) = Enter/Return

It is highly advisable to have a local bank account in Türkiye once you obtain your residence permit. By doing so, you can avoid transaction fees and surcharges, making your financial experiences smoother and more cost-effective. If you have any further questions or require assistance with banking in Türkiye, feel free to reach out for guidance.


Tip 1: Turkish currency is the Turkish Lira (Türk Lirası – TRY). Refer to the images above to recognize Turkish banknotes and coins in current circulation.

Tip 2: Counterfeit money is rarely encountered, but it’s essential to be cautious. Avoid accepting large quantity banknotes from anyone except when it’s from a bank or an official office (e.g., tax office, immigration office).

Tip 3: Exchanging Dollars or Euros is much easier compared to other currencies. Therefore, it’s advisable to come to Türkiye with these currencies. Finding Turkish lira outside of Türkiye can be difficult and costly, so it’s unnecessary.

Tip 4: Avoid exchanging currency at banks or exchange offices at airports in Türkiye. The exchange rates may not be favorable, and there might be higher commission fees. Instead, prefer currency exchange offices in your local neighborhood or touristic spots for better rates and lower commission fees.

Tip 5: Keep receipts for certain purchases and transactions as you would normally do at home. Customer rights are well-regulated in Türkiye.

Tip 6: Credit cards are widely accepted for almost any purchase in Türkiye. Most credit cards, such as VISA, MASTERCARD, and AMERICAN EXPRESS, are usable. However, be aware that some places may require you to provide a PIN for your credit card (instead of a signature as in some other countries). It’s best to confirm with the merchants before making a purchase.

Tip 7: Contactless payment via a chip card (debit, credit, or smartcard) is widely used in Türkiye, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. This payment method is convenient and safe.

Tip 8: When making online bookings for flights, car rentals, or other travel arrangements in advance, be sure to read through the related terms and conditions, as well as customer rights and responsibilities. Some businesses may require you to present the same credit card used in the online transaction upon usage as a security measure against fraud.

By following these money-related tips, you can ensure a smooth and cost-effective financial experience during your stay in Türkiye.

Tipping in Türkiye

Tipping is not mandatory in Türkiye, but it has gradually become more common in restaurants, especially in metropolitan cities. The decision to tip typically depends on your level of satisfaction with the service provided. However, it’s important to note that tipping may not always be appreciated in certain situations. For instance, it is not customary to tip university employees, except for leaving tips in designated tip boxes at specific coffee shops or cafeterias.

Here’s a brief Q&A on typical tipping practices in Türkiye/Istanbul:

1. Should I tip at restaurants in Türkiye?
Tipping at restaurants is not obligatory, but it is becoming more common in larger cities. You can leave a tip based on your satisfaction with the service, typically around 5-10% of the total bill.

2. Are tips expected in taxis?
Tipping taxi drivers is not a strict practice, but rounding up the fare as a gesture of appreciation is common.

3. Is it customary to tip hotel staff?
Tipping hotel staff is not mandatory, but leaving a small amount for housekeeping or bellhops is appreciated.

4. Can I tip at cafes and coffee shops?
Leaving a small tip in designated tip boxes at certain cafes and coffee shops is welcome.

5. Are tips expected for tour guides and drivers?
For organized tours, it’s customary to tip tour guides and drivers as a token of gratitude. Around 5-10% of the tour cost is an appropriate amount.

Remember, tipping customs can vary based on the region and establishment. If you wish to learn more about tipping practices in Türkiye, you can visit for additional information.

By understanding local tipping practices, you can show appreciation for excellent service while respecting cultural norms during your time in Türkiye.

Safety, Security, and Neighborhoods

Safety & Security

Istanbul is generally a safe city, comparable to other safe cities in Europe and elsewhere. However, the political context and specific circumstances at any given time can affect overall safety. In this guide, we aim to inform you about general safety rules and provide essential safety and security cautions for a large city like Istanbul. Some common crimes to be aware of include pickpocketing, bag snatching, bag slashing, and, though rare, robbery by force and potential incidents of rape. To protect yourself and take precautions:

– Avoid carrying large amounts of cash in your pockets and keep your bag in front of you to monitor it closely. If you have a bag with a shoulder strap, wear it across your torso and hold the strap firmly.

– If you notice a thief attempting to steal from you, raise your voice and yell to draw attention to the situation. Others, especially security guards or police, can then pursue the thief. Do not attempt to fight the thief or chase them yourself, as it may be dangerous.

– Avoid being alone whenever possible.

– While Turkish people are generally friendly, exercise caution in trusting strangers, as some may attempt to deceive you, such as shopkeepers, hotel keepers, taxi drivers, people on public transit, or restaurant staff.

– Check the important security advisories shared by embassies and consulates on their websites. Subscribe to their email lists and register with your country’s foreign mission in Türkiye upon arrival.

– Always carry proper identification, such as your residence permit and a copy of your passport (it’s advisable to keep the original safe in case of misplacement or theft), as well as your university ID card.

– Stay aware of your surroundings and be cautious of suspicious situations.

– Avoid walking alone late at night in unfamiliar neighborhoods; opt for using a taxi instead.

– Use caution if you are offered uninvited companionship, help, food, or drinks by strangers, especially when traveling alone.

– In case of emergency, you can call the 24/7 available Koc University emergency line at 0212 338 1122 or dial 155 for the Police.


Most areas in Istanbul, such as Beşiktaş, Sarıyer, Sultanahmet, and Kadıköy, are considered exceptionally safe. However, like any large city, some districts require extra caution. The following neighborhoods are considered less safe and are labeled as potentially dangerous parts of Istanbul: Gaziosmanpaşa District (especially Sarıgöl Neighborhood and Gaziosmanpaşa Street), Dolapdere, Tarlabaşı, Bağcılar, Kuştepe, Hacıhüsrev, and Kasımpaşa. Please follow the instructions provided in the previous section, take necessary precautions, and avoid visiting these areas.

By being vigilant and mindful of your surroundings, you can enjoy a safe and rewarding experience during your time in Istanbul.

Worship, Holidays, and Important Days


If you are looking for a place of worship in Istanbul, you can find the closest houses of worship below:
– Sariyer Yeni Merkez Mosque
– Zekeriyakoy Mosque
– Prayer Room, Koc University (Located underneath Sevgi Gonul Auditorium)
– Yenikoy Synagogue
– Sariyer Santa Maria Church

Holidays and Important Days

In Türkiye, there are several public holidays and important days celebrated throughout the year. Here is a list of the main public holidays in Türkiye:
1 January – New Year’s Day
23 April – National Sovereignty and Children’s Day
1 May – Labor and Solidarity Day
19 May – The Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day
15 July – Democracy and National Unity Day
30 August – Victory Day
29 October – Republic Day
Ramazan Bayramı– Eid al-Fitr/ Ramadan Feast
Kurban Bayramı– Eid al-Adha /Feast of Sacrifice

Please note that the dates for the Eid holidays are not fixed and change every year according to the lunar calendar.

Ramadan: Ramadan, also known as Ramazan, is the holy month observed by Muslims, during which they fast from sunrise to sunset, pray, and celebrate. Some important information about Ramadan includes:
– The dates for Ramadan are calculated by the Islamic Lunar Calendar and move forward by 11 days every year.
– During the 30 days of Ramadan, a morning drummer plays a loud drum (davul) to wake people up so that those who are fasting can eat something before the morning prayer.
– The tradition of the morning drummer, beating the drum while walking through the neighborhood before dawn, continues throughout the 30-day period.

Ezan (Call to Prayer): The Ezan, or call to prayer, is chanted five times a day from mosques, and it can be heard from almost anywhere in the city. The times of the call to prayer vary by location and the time of sunrise each day. You can check the exact time of prayer on a certain date and at a specific location by visiting

During your stay in Istanbul, you may have the opportunity to experience and observe these important religious and cultural practices. It is always respectful to be mindful of these traditions and observe them with sensitivity. Enjoy your time in Istanbul and the rich cultural experiences it offers!

Arts & Culture
Istanbul boasts a rich cultural and artistic life, with its historical monuments serving as a testament to the city’s history as the capital of three world empires spanning over 1,800 years. The city offers world-class museums, numerous concert halls, a vibrant art community, movie theaters scattered throughout, and several renowned culture and arts festivals, including the annual Music and Jazz Festivals or Film Festivals. To fully immerse yourself in Istanbul’s arts and culture scene, consider exploring the following:

Muze Kart (Museum Pass): The “Muzekart” is an incredibly useful card that can save you a substantial amount of money when visiting museums or sightseeing all across Türkiye. For more information, you can visit their website at To find and explore museums anywhere in Türkiye, visit

For students and faculty members, there is the option of Müze Kart İndirimli (Discounted Museum Card), which offers discounts on museum visits in Türkiye. You can obtain this card with your KU Student/ Faculty ID Card from one of the designated sales points.

By utilizing these resources, you can fully embrace and appreciate the rich arts and cultural offerings of Istanbul and enjoy an enriching and fulfilling experience during your time in this vibrant city. For more information about museums and their passes, please check out the following link:

Recommended Websites for Events and Tickets:
Biletix: Ticket sale site for concerts, events, and conferences throughout Türkiye.
Tixbox: Ticket sale site for concerts, events, and conferences throughout Türkiye.
Zorlu PSM: Theater for Musicals, world-famous music, and other performing arts shows.
Biletiva: Ticket sale site for concerts, events, and conferences throughout Türkiye.

Museums and Cultural Attractions: Explore museums in Türkiye, get information on museum passes, and more.
Istanbul Modern: Exhibits and museum showcasing contemporary art.
Sakıp Sabancı Müzesi: Private museum located close to campus.
İstanbul Şehir Tiyatroları: Istanbul City Theatres at different locations.
Rahmi Koc Muzesi: Private museum showcasing the industrial history of Türkiye.
Sadberk Hanim Museum: First private museum in Türkiye.

Events and Lifestyle Blogs: Listings for events in Istanbul.
– Recommended websites to search for online travel blogs, lifestyle magazines, food, shopping, and more about Istanbul in English:

  1. Canım Istanbul
  2. The Guide Istanbul (Instagram Account)
  3. The Istanbul Insider

Parks and Conservations:
Istanbul boasts numerous parks and conservations. You can view the list by location via this link:

Travel, Hiking, Trekking:
Türkiye is a popular destination for travelers, hikers, mountaineering, biking, and trekking enthusiasts. If you are looking for where to go for your outdoor activities or travel destinations, the website “Gezimanya” will be helpful. The website address is You can also follow us on Instagram at icokocuniv, where we provide resources, recommendations, and more.

Long Distance Traveling
You can easily purchase domestic and international tickets for various modes of transport available for long-distance traveling. You can buy tickets online or in person at sales agencies. Bus companies, airlines, and private transportation brands have their online sales channels as well. You can also download mobile apps for these websites.

Find and Purchase Tickets:
Intercity Coaches & Flights:
Ferry Transportation:

Recommended Destinations for Traveling in Türkiye:
The Turkey Travel Planner website offers an excellent list of top recommendations for traveling in Türkiye, including most cities. You can visit to learn more.

Emergency Vocabulary (English/Turkish)
Emergency Vocabulary (English/Turkish)

Accident / Kaza (qa-zuh)
Emergency / Acil, İlk yardım (ah-jille)
Fire / Yangın (young-ehn)
Help me / Yardım edin, Yardım lütfen (yahr-dum looth-phen)
Hospital / Hastane (huss-tah-neh)
Medicine / İlaç (e-luch)
I’ve had an accident / Kaza yaptım (qa-zuh yup-tuhm)
He / She fainted / Bayıldı (bah-yihl-du)
I’m injured / Yaralıyım (yah-rah-leh-yuhm)
Very sick / Çok hasta (choke hasta)
Need a doctor / Doktor çağırın (doktor cha-uh-rehn)
Need an ambulance / Ambulans çağırın (ambulans cha-uh-rehn)