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Baylor in Turkeyy

Sept. 25, 1996

Baylor in Turkey

explores culture

Students participating in the Baylor in Turkey program learn from hands-on education in the biblical region of Asia Minor.

By Aaron Westmoreland

Lariat Reporter

The Middle East is made nearer to University students through a summer University program.

Baylor in Turkey is an educational experience offered to students interested in studying political science, anthropology and geography in the Middle-Eastern country. The program's objective is to immerse the student in Turkish culture, government and regional issues while visiting 'exotic and fascinating places.'

'The trip is an interactive learning experience at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa,' said Dr. Bill Mitchell, director of the program and political science professor.

Students gain hands-on experience in the courses by being immersed in the environment of the courses.

'You learn political geography, world geography and world regions and cultures through lessons,' Mitchell said. 'Then you have the opportunity to see it up close.'

The program was established in 1995 but did not return to Turkey last year due to a lack of publicity. Mitchell said he decided to begin printing material now for the upcoming trip.

'We feel that this year will be a breakthrough year for the program, due to the posters on the walls of most buildings,' Mitchell said.

Mitchell said he feels the long duration of the program is beneficial to the students.

'The trip offers more to students because it lasts a month instead of two weeks,' Mitchell said.

Mitchell teaches lessons for one week prior to departure as well as for the two weeks the students are there. Students keep daily journals chronicling their experiences. Bus trips go to several archeological sites and

national parks. Most importantly, this trip gives students the chance to interact with the Turkish peoples.

'Most people have a misconception of Turkey,' Mitchell said. 'Most Americans perceive Turks as unfriendly, assertive and aggressive. Turks are actually just the opposite.'

Suzanna Dokupil, a Dallas graduate student, agreed that people misperceive Turks.

'Most people perceive Turks as the kind of people that ran Turkey as the Ottoman Empire,' Dokupil said.

Instead, she said, Turks are very friendly. One Turk led her by the hand to her bus when she was lost during one of her free-time excursions. She also said they spoke frequently with students on the streets.

'Most Turks speak English,' Dokupil said.

Dokupil said she liked her experiences in Turkey so much that she decided to write her thesis on Turkey.

While students can earn from three to six hours' credit in anthropology and political science classes, Mitchell said the trip is not centered around classes. Free time allows students to explore their surroundings, and a group boat ride takes them onto the Aegean Sea. Students will visit the cities and villages of Istanbul, Izmir, Bergama, Troy, Ephesus, Goreme, Ankara, Bursa, Bodrum and Cesme. Featured in the trip are the seven churches of Asia Minor as described in Rev. 1:11, Mitchell said.

The trip cost should be approximately $2,995. This includes all land and air travel and all room and board, except for lunch, each day of the trip. In addition, baggage tips and entrance fees to group-visited places are included in cost. The hotels are considered four- to five-star establishments, which house two to three persons per room and have a private bath.

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