Culture, food and fun are being offered by a Tyler Junior College program to travel overseas for course credit during spring break.
Registration is currently under way for the 20th trip from TJC to Turkey. The Spring Break trip will focus on Western and Central Turkey, with a May trip exploring Eastern Turkey. The trip will give students three credit hours for GOVT 2389 and also offers credit for educators who attend.
TJC Political Science Professor Dr. Manoucher Khosrowshahi said this region offers the traveler a part of the world that is rich with history.
“This trip will expose them to a part of the world they may never go alone. It shows part of the Middle
East, where east and west meet,” said Khosrowshahi. “Turkey is the crossroad of civilizations. Also it is the birthplace of early Christianity. Early Christian history is embedded in Turkey.”
Students who participated in previous trips to Turkey said they would love to return for another.
“It was unbelievable. The things we learned. The parts of the world you see, you do not know they exist and how they impact the world and your life,” said education major Carla Yaw. “I am planning on going back.”
The trip is not only open to TJC students and staff, but travelers from other schools are expected to travel as well. Teachers from Johnson County Community College in Kansas City, and Brookhaven College in Dallas are expected to take the trip. Last year, the group had 34 people from Houston, Austin, Dallas and several other areas travel overseas.
“It is open for anybody. Anybody who has an interest in culture interest learning, explore,” said Khosrowshahi.
Khosrowshahi suggested the trip is not for the first time traveler. “It is not for amateur traveler, this is for learning experience while learning at the same time.”
Students said the trip is educational and can also be good for family members.
“It is a wonderful trip for families, very enriching, safe and cultural,” said Yaw. “The trip is good for personal growth.”
Dr. Khosrowshahi is a native of Azerbaijan and spent a lot of time in the Middle Eastern region before moving to the United States when he was 24. He says this trip is about much more than exploring a new region but about breaking down misconceptions between the two countries.
“People in any part of the world have the same feelings, so we want to stay away from political views between us. The main goal of the trip is to avoid stereotyping,” said Khosrowshahi.
“You can not just use one example,” Yaw has attended the Turkey trip last year and agrees that the Turkish people are very similar to Americans.
“They are really no different than we are,” said Yaw.
Dr. Khosrowshahi said the trip focuses on one of the most beautiful regions and encourages students to take the trip for the educational opportunity.
“I find the beauty of any place. I want the travelers to enjoy the beauty of the cultures,” said Dr. Khosrowshahi.
Students who have taken the trip in the past said this year’s trip is offering great sights along the way.
“We will be seeing different sights. But, I want to see Istanbul again it was so amazing,” said Yaw. “You can’t catch it all the first time.”
To help travelers prepare for the trip, Dr. Khosrowshahi holds free seminars throughout the year.
“We will teach them the Do’s and Don’ts. When you travel to another country you need to study a little bit. Like hand gestures, the dress code, and food,” said Khosrowshahi. “They need to prepare so they do not get surprises. So they will know what to expect when they get there.”
The trip will cost $2,075 for students and $2,225 for members of the public, but if students get their friends to come along on the trip, they can receive a discount.
“If a person recruits another person, they can get $100 discount, if you refer 12 people they can get a free trip,” said Khosrowshahi.
The next free seminar is open to the public Saturday, Feb. 9 in the TJC Board Room in the White Administration Building.