Student to Share Stories of Istanbul

Letisha Brown

Mosques were a common sight for UNC student Letisha Brown during her summer study-abroad experience in Instanbul, Turkey. Photo courtesy of Letisha Brown

Letisha Brown knows that her trip to Turkey over the summer has, and forever will, enrich her life, but now she wants to share with others how they can take the reigns and find the study abroad experience that will enrich their lives.

Brown is a senior majoring in Africana Studies and is a member of the McNair Scholars Program, which provides undergraduate research opportunities designed to prepare eligible juniors and seniors for graduate school.

She will share her story about her trip, which included seven weeks of study at Bogazici University in Istanbul, at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18, in the University Center in Columbine A.

Brown will discuss how it felt to be immersed in a non-English country, why she was interested in studying abroad, the importance of taking advantage of international travel opportunities, the classes she took and the people she met, and the resources on campus that will help students accomplish their study abroad goals.

"I've benefited in many ways from my experience at Bogazici University," Brown said. "I was able to push my limits as a student and succeed academically in a setting that is unlike any other that I have ever dealt with. It taught me to see my world, or the Western world rather, through different eyes. It was a beautiful campus, and I had a beautiful experience."

She initially heard about Bogazici University through UNC Professor of Africana Studies George Junne, who is also an adjunct professor at the Turkish university during the summer.

According to Joe Tort, study abroad and exchange coordinator for UNC's Center for International Education, UNC has several connections with Bogazici University and is pursuing a formal agreement with it.

The CIE offers over 400 programs in 50 countries, but sometimes, as in Brown's situation, a student wants to attend a university that doesn't have a formal partnership with UNC.

In those cases, Tort said, the CIE will make sure that the credits at the desired university abroad will transfer back to UNC and that it's a government-accredited body within the host nation.

"We haven't had a strong connection with Bogazici, so by going there it definitely opened more communication between UNC and them," Brown said of her role in helping facilitate establishment of a formal partnership.

The CIE provides multiple ways for exchange students, both those from abroad and from UNC, to share their experiences. Students can participate in a speaker bureau or submit their blogs and photos to CIE's website.

For more information about study abroad experiences at UNC, visit http://www.unco.edu/cie/.

- Christina Romero