Local teacher returns from study abroad
Ponte Vedra, 01.08.2013
After exploring and studying Turkey for two weeks through the Turkish Cultural Foundation’s Teacher Study Program, three teachers from the Jacksonville area have returned. The trip was a collaboration between TCF and the World Affairs Council of America.
The teachers, who were part of a group of 54 teachers split into two tours, came from Lake Shore Middle School, Hilliard Middle Senior High School and Ponte Vedra High School. Alina Mar, who teaches world history and U.S. history at Ponte Vedra High School, said her overall the Trip to Turkey was a great experience.
Mar had to apply for the program through the World Affairs Council of Jacksonville. The process is very competitive, she said, and included a mandatory workshop and written essays. Out of the applicants, three teachers were selected from Northeast Florida, said Mar. One teacher each was selected from St. Johns, Duval and Clay counties.
Now back at home, the teachers are inspired to share their experiences in Turkey in their classrooms and to the local community. In the fall, the three returning teachers will give a presentation at the Cummer Museum that gives insight into their experiences, Turkish and American relations and what is going on in Turkey now, said Mar. She also took lots of pictures and completed interviews that are really applicable to what she teaches and will be incorporated into her curriculum.
"It is a great privilege for TCF to facilitate teacher trips to Turkey and offer American teachers an opportunity to experience the country firsthand," said TCF Chairmen Yalcin Ayasli in a news release. "Visitors easily fall in love with Turkey due to its diverse landscape, warm hospitality and pleasing cuisine, and we are proud to introduce our teacher participants to the people and places that make Turkey so special.
The American teaches were introduced to the education system in Turkey by meeting with the teachers and students from various Turkish schools. They also visited numerous cities and villages throughout Turkey including historic cities like Istanbul, Bursa and Ephesus.
Mar said the most exciting part was being able to visit the places she sees on TV or talks about in her classes. "It was a really great to experience, not just talk about."
"TCF believes that international exchanges are a critical mechanism for building a community of understanding and respect between different cultures and countries worldwide, and we are pleased to play a small part in this effort, said Ayasli."
Since 2007, 425 American educators have been immersed in and introduced to Turkey’s history, culture and famous landmarks. Planning for next year’s tours is already underway.
For more information visit http://www.turkishculturalfoundation. org/pages.php?ID=25.