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Student Testimonials

Here is what SIUE Summer Travel Study Istanbul alumni have to say about the program:

Aric Kreeger (Summer 2007) Major: Philosophy / Minor: Religious Studies

"It is difficult to describe the effect that the trip to Istanbul had on my life. It was a wonderful experience that really opened my eyes to my ignorance regarding other cultures. Subsequently, I was able to discover a lot about myself because of my immersion within Turkish culture. I met lifelong friends, made lifelong memories, and discovered otherwise inaccessible life-changing experiences. So, I recommend this trip to anyone who has ever longed to see the world or walk in the footsteps of history firsthand. In addition, a trip such as this is paramount to a more complex understanding of Islam and all the beauty that the religion holds. In the end I can truly say that this trip has the potential to change your life; at a minimum you will learn a little something about yourself from learning a little something about others."

Nicole Launhardt (Summer 2009) Major: Geography

"Istanbul was without a doubt the best decision I have made for myself. Going to Istanbul opened my eyes and mind in ways I didn't know were even possible. I have been forever changed because of this experience. Being able to live and immerse your self into a different culture is not something one should pass up. Everyday I still see how Istanbul changed me. The only thing to regret, is not going."

Brent Whipple (Summer 2007) Major: Special Education

"The Turkey study abroad trip opened my mind in a way that many people are looking for during this type of learning experience. This unique study abroad opportunity allows a student a chance to experience life outside the western hemisphere. Upon arriving in Istanbul I was very nervous, but only after minutes of meeting students at the Yeditepe University I lost that feeling immediately. This trip will fully immerse you into an extremely rich culture full of opportunities to learn and communicate in ways many Americans are unable. This opportunity helped me to learn more about myself and the world than I ever thought possible. Skip England and France and step into the one of the greatest areas of the world!"

Emily Wilken (Summer 2007) Major: Spanish Education / Minor: Math Education

"The summer travel study experience to Istanbul through SIUE transformed my life. Surrounded by such a rich cultural heritage, I began to question the ways in which I experienced the world as a result of my American roots. The experience taught me to be critical of stereotypes and generalizations that dangerously categorize other persons. Also, I gained a deeper appreciation of the value of each human being and all the experiences and characteristics that create that individual. The classroom material was thought provoking and left me with a desire to know more and discuss the material further with classmates outside the classroom setting. Study abroad is a time for personal growth and once in a lifetime experiences, and the travel study to Istanbul fulfills both because the summer in Istanbul facilitates self-development through extraordinary opportunities."

Mindy Young (Summer 2007) Majors: History and Philosophy / Minor: Religious Studies

"Studying abroad in Istanbul was one of the best decisions I could have made. The city, the places, the people - this trip allows you to become a part of all of this. Becoming a resident scholar in Istanbul, studying Islamic literature, listening to the call to prayer ( adhan) everyday, and learning the language allows for an experience one might miss as a mere tourist. Be prepared to be changed; this experience is transformative. My time in Istanbul has been so influential on me that I am considering a graduate program in Turkish/Islamic studies."

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