Are you a professor interested in the Study Turkiye program, but you’re not sure what to expect from the trip? If so, then this blog post is for you!
Dr. Jaleh Sherbini (featured in our Study Turkiye video) wrote a blog during her trip to Turkey with Oakton College, which she generously allowed us to reproduce in part here. She was inspired to take this trip to Turkey with her class because of her experience in the Study Turkiye program. I love this particular post because it captures the whirlwind, but still fun and educational nature of our Turkey trips. You may register for the 2014 Study Turkiye Program here.
– Eleanor Peck, Director of Communications and Member Relations
PSC 201 Field Study Trip: Exploring the World
May 29, 2013
Hello From Chicago,
My group is all back safe and sound in Chicago, even though we were all rather sad to be leaving beautiful Turkey. Our consolation however, was that we are all positive we will be back again, and that this visit is the first of many to come. Turkey has so much to offer, no one can explore it in just 10 days.
Our second day in Izmir (May 25) was just wonderful. It began with a visit to the ancient city of Ephesus, Virgin Mary’s House, followed by a stop and demonstration at a local family owned (for generations) pottery shop, and the same for a rug shop. We were also given an interesting demonstration of how Turkish rugs are made (an old tradition) which is both fascinating as it appears so simple, yet is highly complex.
After a long and very interesting day, we went back to our hotel, were we got some rest. changed our clothes and headed for yet another scrumptious Turkish dinner!
May 26, it was time to head to our final city on this great tour throughout Turkey; the magnificent Bursa, the first capital of the Ottoman Empire. The day began with our usual breakfast buffet at our hotel in Izmir. When everyone was ready, we all hoped on our private bus and were ready and looking forward to Bursa. On our way, our wonderful bus driver, made a quick stop at a roadside fruit stand so that we could buy some local fruits in season (cherries , apricots and green plums). We were really thankful for this simple but generous gesture. The fruits were ripe, sweet and delicious!
Everyone bought some fruit, hoped on the bus, and were soon on the road again. As was our ritual from the begin of our trip, stimulating and delightful conversation among the group members continued until we finally arrived at our hotel in Bursa. We checked in very quickly, as we were all looking forward to our lunch which was going to be in a 700 year old ottoman village. No words (except maybe through pictures) can express the beauty of this village and its people. We had lunch in a very primitive/local restaurant at the top of the hill. It was definitely one of the highlights of this trip especially for me, as well for the rest of the group.
After lunch we headed to the Grand Mosque of Bursa, one of the oldest Mosques built during the Ottoman era. Amazing architecture. This was followed by a quick visit to the Bursa Bazaar (Bursa is famous for its silk) and hence, no visit would be complete without buying a traditional Bursa silk scarf.
But that was not the end of our day, for our amazing and wonderful guide Aysenur had planned a surprise for us. We were headed to a performance of the famous Sufi Twirling Dervishes. Now this is an experience you have to see to believe. Everyone was just in awe of the experience (while I managed to record it on video) again, its an experience that has to be seen and felt live.
Once the performance was over, we were once again on our bus, not heading to our hotel, or a restaurant for dinner, but this time to the house of a Turkish family who had prepared for us a traditional Turkish meal. Another amazing experience, the family was so excited to be hosting us, we were truly humbled. We sat together, the women in one room, the men in another (this is a traditional family) plus they did not have a big enough room to fit all of us. Dinner was mouth watering. Dessert was delicious, and as if that was not enough it was followed with fruit (fresh cherries that our male host – the husband) and his son had picked specially for us from their cherry tree.
Time flew, and before we knew it (even though it was close to 1:00 am) it was time to leave this wonderful, kind, and generous family. We gave them our gift, but were not surprised that they (as many of our hosts had done before) prepared a going away gift for us too. Each one of us received a beautiful hand printed cotton towel (Bursa is also famous for its textiles).
We finally arrived at our hotel, a little exhausted from the long day, but still full of excitement and pure joy! Despite the sad fact that tomorrow would signaling the ending of our stay in Turkey.