Italy is an attractive destination for foreign students. This has emerged from the “Italia chiama Turchia” (Italy calling Turkey) project, which aims to collect useful data for promoting academic relations between Italy and Turkey, with a view both to strengthening relations and cooperation between the universities of the two countries and consolidating the number of academic exchanges between Italian and Turkish universities.

Italy and Turkey university exchanges
The University of Milan. ANSA/MATTEO CORNER

According to the data collected on behalf of the Embassy of Italy by Professor Daniela Giannetto, who also benefited from the support of the YÖK (Higher Council of Turkish Universities) and the Italian Ministry of Universities and Research, the number of students from Turkey from Turkey choosing to study in Italy is rising significantly.

The highlights of the data collected give an insight into the trends, in recent years, related to the flow of Italian students and teachers in Turkey and Turkish students and teachers in Italy, revealing a significant increase in enrolment in both three-year and single-cycle degree programmes and master’s degree programmes. 

Professor Daniela Giannetto
Professor Daniela Giannetto

This figure is consistent with the growth in the presence of foreign students of all nationalities in Italian universities, but with the clarification that the percentage of Turkish students has more than doubled in the last five years, rising from 1.29% to 2.72%. In the last two years, although Lombardy and Piedmont are still the preferred destinations for Turkish students, there has been an increase in the percentage of Turkish students in universities in other Italian regions.

There are also interesting figures in terms of academic staff: especially in the universities of the large Turkish cities there is a fair and constant presence of teaching staff, at various levels, from Italy (58 in 2918/2019), while the number of Turkish professors in Italian universities is rather small (13 in total).

university in italy

Regarding Erasmus exchanges, there is a significant discrepancy between the numerous Turkish students choosing Italy (6421, from 2014 to 2018) and the few Italians choosing Turkey (1349 for the same period).

The project does not only consist of data and tables but features a second part, “Italy calling Turkey”, consisting of a collection of interviews with researchers, academics and intellectuals who promote cultural/scientific exchanges between the two countries, as well as Erasmus students and winners of scholarships under the “Invest Your Talent” and “Study in Italy” programmes sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, who have spent a study period in one of the two countries.