Communication in Turkey


Be sure to communicate with your family soon after you arrive to let them know you are safe and sound! A quick phone call or e-mail can make them feel much better. You will most likely have access to Wi-Fi within a few hours of arriving to Turkey where you can send an e-mail, text, or make a phone call using Wi-Fi.

While you are abroad it is important to find ways to stay in touch with family and friends. They will all be anxious to hear about your experiences, and you will want to know what is happening at home. Some students have said that it is helpful to set up a communication plan with family and friends so everyone will know when you are available to make a call or receive a call. With time differences, inconsistent internet access, and the many excursions and activities you will be participating in, sometimes it can be difficult for you and your family to connect. Keep in mind that you are only abroad for a short while, so you will want to make the most of it and be present for every experience that you have.

One way some students have stayed in touch and shared their experiences with many friends and family is through keeping a blog. This is an excellent way to communicate as it touches many people and can be flexible with time.

Communication Apps for your Smartphone

Smart phone apps also work very well and allow students to text and call back home with ease. Viber, Whatsapp, and Facetime are all recommended. The most common communication tool however, is Skype, which allows for free calling from one Skype device to another or very inexpensive calling from Skype to a landline or mobile phone.

 #CISabroadtip – Add $5 or so to your Skype account before going abroad to make calling cellphones or landlines back home easy right from the beginning! Skype calls are only free if they are made to another Skype user, you will need to have credit on your Skype account to call a family or friends phone directly. Set up a skype account for your family and make sure they know how to use it if you want to chat with them!

Cell Phones

Experienced travelers all agree: it is best to buy a phone and SIM card in-country once you arrive. Do not bring your American phone and pay huge international fees. We recommend turning off your data and roaming on your smart phone and using it as a WiFi enabled device only. This way you can use it when you have internet without paying crazy out of country fees!

You will be able to purchase a basic phone and SIM card in-country. You can then send an international text message to your family so they know your new local number.

Your phone minutes and texts will be prepaid by you.  You “top-up” (prepay) your phone with $5-20 at a time at many locations. Your on-site staff member can explain this in more detail in-country.

If you have an American phone with a SIM card, it may be possible to only buy the SIM card in-country and not need to buy a basic phone.  Please contact your cell phone provider for specific instructions.

Plan on not knowing your local cell phone number until you are in-country.

Turkey’s country calling code is +90, it is similar to an area code and must be dialed before an Turkish phone number if you are outside Turkey. For comparison, the U.S. calling code is +1.