Elif graduated from Bilkent University in Ankara with a degree in Architecture, before deciding to continue her studies at Cardiff University's Welsh School of Architecture.
Name: Elif Istanbulluoglu
Degree: MSc Sustainable Mega-Buildings
Year of study: 2017/18
Can you give us a brief introduction about yourself?
My name is Elif Istanbulluoglu and I am doing a master’s degree in Sustainable Mega-Buildings in the Welsh School of Architecture. I graduated from Bilkent University, Ankara, where I received my bachelor’s degree in architecture. Originally, I am from Erzurum and lived there until I moved to Ankara for college.
Tell us about your course. How is it different from studying back home?
My course here is very specific on one subject, therefore it is very different from other programmes on sustainable architecture in other universities. It is also different from my courses in undergraduate study, as it approaches architecture from a science perspective. The course focuses on the application of the projects and the practice of sustainability - it is much more than design studios given at my college back home.
As a part of Cardiff University, I have had a great chance to explore the most recent studies and developments in sustainability. Wales is one of the leaders in making cities more sustainable, not only from an architecture point of view, but also from economic and social perspectives. This is a strong link with my studies.
Besides, being very close to London gives the opportunity to visit mega buildings and relate to the course, which is what makes this programme distinguishable from others.
What have you enjoyed most about studying at Cardiff University?
The most exciting thing about studying at Cardiff University is knowing that it is a reputable university and the opportunities provided by the university are noteworthy.
I have enjoyed meeting with people from the industry and visiting the most famous architecture firms, buildings and construction sites. It was definitely a great experience for me.
Additionally, Cardiff University gives importance to the student’s voice. So, being heard by the University and being involved with most of the decisions make you feel a part of the University.
What is the best thing about living in Cardiff?
It is already difficult to move to a foreign country and get used to being in a new environment. Therefore, the best thing about Cardiff is that it is very easy to get used to. It has a fair amount of activities, festivals and interesting places for students and everything is easily accessible.
I live 10 minutes’ walk from my school and from the city centre as well. Markets, shops, sports facilities and everything is within walking distance. In addition, there is more to explore around Cardiff, in Wales and rest of the UK.
Are you a member of any clubs or societies? If so, what is it like to be a part of a society?
I am currently not a member of any societies, but I know for sure that there are a lot of societies and clubs for everyone’s interest. I was interested in a couple of societies in the beginning, but then I decided to make time for travelling and learning a second language by taking lessons from the Languages for All programme.
How has the University supported you during your time here?
The University offers various kinds of support.
I know that there is somewhere that I can ask for advice, either for academic studies or personal life.
There are peer support groups that anyone can attend when needed and besides all that, the University staff are always friendly and helpful.
What would your advice be for prospective students thinking about coming to Cardiff?
Cardiff offers what a capital city should offer, but it is also a peaceful city that does not overwhelm people. Compared to more crowded cities in Europe and the UK, Cardiff is cheaper and therefore the standard of living is higher. Therefore, when also considering the reputation of the university, I would recommend studying in Cardiff.
What are your plans for future?
I would like to have a chance to gain work experience in either the UK or Europe for a couple of years. Turkey is a developing country, and there is a knowledge gap in terms of sustainability. Therefore, I would like to go back and practice what I experienced here in Cardiff.