Wednesday, May 25, 2011
I traveled halfway around the world and can you believe I forgot to bring my College of Arts and Sciences T-shirt with me? While I missed out on getting a photo of me in my college shirt at the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia or other historic sites in and near Istanbul, Turkey, I did come back with some wonderful experiences.
(Above: me, outside the Blue Mosque in Istanbul)
My wife and I started our vacation by spending three days in Izmir, where I learned that driving in Turkey is best viewed positively as an adventure. The drivers there are much more aggressive than they are here and if you're not aggressive, you're in trouble. We went to Izmir to see the ruins of Ephesus and Pergamon. The latter was the home town of Galen, a famous ancient Greek physician.It also had the second largest library in antiquity. Ephesus was a major port in the western Mediterranean and known for its Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. In its heyday Ephesus was the second largest city in the world.
Istanbul is simply fascinating city of over 15 million people. It's a very modern city with a rich history. But for us, the real draw was the opportunity to see its wonderful mixing of cultures and religions. Everywhere there are churches and mosques and even mosques that once were churches. The people are very friendly toward foreigners and a testament to how people of different backgrounds can get along.
The thing I love most about international travel is that it's an opportunity to gain new perspectives. Broadening our horizons is important and something that the College of Arts and Sciences continues to emphasize whether through study abroad experiences or through studies here on campus. Among recent efforts is our commitment to experiential learning scholarships, including study abroad, and our efforts to grow our International Studies major. Those are just two examples of some very wise investments considering that our students face an increasingly diverse and interconnected world.
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