Presbyterian College Students Experience Istanbul
“In the history department, we care” are often the words you’ll hear from Dr. Campbell when he describes the department. One of the things the history faculty cares about is to give students the opportunity to discover the world they discuss and learn about in books and the classroom. Each year the history department offers two international trips that allows students to broaden their cultural horizons.
Four faculty members along with 25 students just came back from exploring the wonders and history that the city of Istanbul, Turkey has to offer. “The opportunity to go on a faculty-led trip to experience the history and culture of Istanbul was definitely one of the highlights of my time at PC and gave me a better appreciation of a different culture and people,” said senior Chris Byrd.
Istanbul is considered a modern European city with a Middle Eastern vibe that spans across both Europe and Asia and is divided by the majestic blue Bosporus Sea. Over Spring Break the professors led students through sights where centuries of history echo across the splendor of architectural wonders like the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. Blue Hose faculty and students also roamed through the maze of ornate rooms of Topkapi Palace, viewed the city landscape from the heights of Galata Tower, and experienced the cultural traditions of a Turkish bath house.
Regarding his experiences of Istanbul senior Jamie George said, “The opportunity to travel with the history department is amazing, for it affords students great chances to experience a different culture while also growing closer to their peers and professors.”
History department led trips are unique because the professors trust students enough to give them flexibility to roam the city on their own during multiple allotted free periods. This gives students time to interact with the locals and hear their insights on life in the country they are visiting.
On this trip, shopping at the Grand Bazaar allowed students to learn how to barter. This was a learning experience, but proved to be quite fun once students got the hang of it. The faculty leaders did not rely on tour guides to show the attractions. Instead the students were expected to assume the role of a tour guide and teach their peers the history of a specific sight.
“Going to Istanbul really broadened my view of the world. I saw so many different ways of life by simply walking through the cobblestone streets. The views like those of the Blue Mosque, the Bosporus, and Gulhane Park proved it was impossible to take a bad picture. I’m grateful that the history department put together such an amazing trip that made for a memorable Spring Break,” said senior Mary Catherine Heard.
The history department regularly enjoys leading students across the world each year for Spring Break and Maymester trips. In the past the department has led trips to places like Egypt, Guatemala, Isreal, Ireland, Vietnam, Portugal, Germany, and New Zealand.