May 31, 2013
by Ashley Wolfgang ‘14
Knox College junior Laura Crossley has been immersing herself in the culturally rich environment of Turkey while studying at Boğaziçi University in Istanbul.
"I've always planned to study abroad," said Crossley, a history major from Minnetonka, Minnesota. "I wanted to go somewhere completely different from small towns in the Midwest. Istanbul is just that."
"It's immense, populous, historic, and grand," she added. "It's the point of physical connection between ‘East' and ‘West,' which is also what drew me here."
"Finally getting to see the places I've studied in history and art history classes has definitely given me a better understanding of history," she said. (Photo above: Laura Crossley in the theatre of the ancient Greek city Hieropolis, located in southwestern Turkey. Photo at right: On a ferry crossing the Bosphorus Strait, with the Eminönü neighborhood in the background.)
On weekdays, Crossley attends classes and uses her free time to travel throughout Istanbul and indulge in Turkish cuisine, including lentil soup, sis kebaps [shish kebabs], and baklava.
On weekends, she and other students in the Duke [University] in Istanbul program venture to different sites and participate in various activities. For example, Crossley has visited Byzantine churches, the Blue Mosque, Topkapı Palace, a Turkish cooking lesson, a soccer match, the Spice Bazaar, and the filming of an episode of Turkey's Got Talent.
Crossley said her Knox experiences of interacting with people from a wide range of backgrounds have helped her in Turkey "as I encounter people from backgrounds very different from mine."
In fact, interacting with Turkish students is one of Crossley's favorite parts of studying abroad.
"I love hearing what they know and think about the United States, and I love asking them questions about Turkey," she explained. "I've learned so much about Turkish politics, the role of religion, cultural traditions, and the school system just through everyday conversation."