On Wednesday, September 15th, two Benedict College business majors, Keidy Mendoza, Senior, majoring in Economics and Marketing, and Jazmine Ransom, Junior, majoring in Economics and Finance, departed for Turkey for a full semester of study at Yalova University located in Yalova, Turkey. These students are the first to participate in a full semester of study at Yalova University, after the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in March 2010 between the two educational institutions. In addition to the full course of study, the Benedict students will engage in cultural activities and sightseeing excursions in addition to tours to local schools, neighboring towns and villages. At the core of their study, is an in-depth study of the rise and fall of the Ottoman Empire. Upon returning to Benedict, Keidy and Jazmine will present their research and findings to the faculty and student body at Benedict College. "The planning for this trip has been wonderful, and, although I am little nervous, I am confident that everything is going to be alright. I am also very excited about this trip, because I feel that it is important for my academic and personal development to learn about other peoples' cultures, I am looking forward to this wonderful experience. I am forever grateful to Dr. Norma Jackson, and Dr. Ibrahim Demir for helping me through the process", said study abroad participant Keidy Mendoza. Jazmine added, "Turkey has a lot to offer, and I intend to take full advantage of this incredible opportunity. I think that this experience will give me firsthand knowledge of a part of the world unknown to me. My family supports me 100%, and I know I will return a different person. Upon my return, I will share my experiences and knowledge with my peers, faculty and staff at Benedict, I am most grateful to the Benedict College Office of International Programs, and all my professors, and administrators for the support they have given me."
Studying abroad at Yalova University will help the students to better understand Turkish culture and enhance their intellectual acumen. Through volunteer activities, travel throughout the region and dialogue with the people of Yalova, it is anticipated that the impact of this exchange experience will be profound.
The mission of the Office of International Programs (OIP) is to expose students to the international dimensions of undergraduate education and to help expand the international component of Benedict´s teaching, research and service mission. Through the OIP, Benedict College students have participated in academic and cultural experiences in Colombia, Mexico, Chile, Brazil, Venezuela, Italy, Ghana, China, South Africa, Spain, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Monaco and Italy, among other countries. Exchanges are on the horizon with several other countries going forward including India, Morocco and Egypt.
According to Dr. Jackson, "although much of contemporary U.S. education focuses on passing standardized tests and vocational education-a homogenization of learning-as an Historically Black College, Benedict College attempts to educationally lift up those whom many have debased and to encourage its students to value the languages and histories of other cultures just as they wish their own languages and histories to be valued."
Source: South Carolina Black News