Of Every Nation
Many people recommended to study abroad while in college. I had no idea the change that would occur in one short semester abroad, until I experienced it for myself. My name is Christina Roach, I studied International Business and Social Entrepreneurship at Oklahoma Baptist University. I now have the opportunity of a job in the same field, as the International Admissions Counselor at OBU.
I studied in Istanbul, Turkey while being intentional in a student internship. It was a joy to continue my studies while abroad, take Turkish lessons, and help teach English during English Tea Time. I had an amazing experience riding the metro, going to bazaars, and building relationships with locals. I was paired with someone I could do life with, while studying there for a semester.
Not only were we there to build relationships with people, we were of encourage to the people that have been overseas for many years. Babysitting was something we really enjoyed and looked forward to, along with our endless amounts of cookie baking! Our friends knew us as the cookie ladies! Not only did we love the walking culture, we really immersed ourselves in learning about the historical sites. We were able to find ourselves in two different continents in a short 15-minute ferry ride going from the Asian side to the European side.
The most beautiful sites visited in Istanbul were Hagia Sophia, Sultan Ahmed Mosque, Bosporus Strait, Taksim Square, Galata Tower, Topkapi Palace, and Maiden’s Tower. We spent our mornings studying in cafés and were intentional to go to public places to surround ourselves in the culture, meeting new people. We found that doing events that were open to the ‘couch surfing community’ allowed us to meet many new people. We found some good hiking places with these events and were able to take a break from the fast paced city of Istanbul. We also marked off some bucket list items of eating olives straight off the vine in Athens, Greece, riding in a hot air balloon in Cappadocia, and saw what a traditional Turkish Bath was like.
I am more than grateful for this experience that truly was a once in a lifetime opportunity, but the sweetest moments of the semester were found in the homes of locals, eating kavalti (traditional Turkish Breakfast) over chai, getting to know their family. I had the amazing opportunity to connect with an OBU volleyball teammate while in Istanbul, one of our last days there. It was so cool to see her in a different light, embracing her home country and upbringing. I strongly encourage students to take a semester abroad, to experience a different perspective and way of life.
Learn more about OBU’s study abroad program: https://www.okbu.edu/academics/study-abroad.html
Christina Roach, International Admissions Counselor