WTAMU Students Ready for Trip to Turkey
Sixteen West Texas A&M University students are about to get the experience of a lifetime when they leave Wednesday, March 10 for a 10-day trip to Turkey as the 2009-2010 Readership WT Ambassadors.
But first, family and friends will join with WTAMU faculty and staff members at 1:30 p.m. just outside the Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport’s security gates to wish the travelers farewell. The group includes the 16 students whose essay-writing skills won them the all-expense paid trip to Turkey, plus two members of the University faculty, a WTAMU staff member and a student peer leader. The trip will take them first to Istanbul and then Goreme to work with school children on English proficiency.
The essay contest was based on the 2009 Readership WT book A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, and the trip will expose the WTAMU students to a new culture and encourage them to become global citizens.
“So much of what we do with the Readership book and trip is discuss global community issues and the importance of becoming contributing members of society,” Kendra Campbell, director of learning communities and trip sponsor, said. “As educated citizens, they need to be aware of the world around them and find a way to contribute. Learning the Muslim culture and sharing ours will play a big part in that.”
The trip marks the third international expedition for winners of a Readership WT essay contest. Previous journeys—to Poland and Zambia—have proven to be life changing experiences for the students, and this year’s trip promises the same. The 16 freshmen are excited and have been preparing for the trip for several weeks.
“We’ve had class once a week since the semester started, and we’ve been going over different aspects of the trip from the Muslim culture to the Islam religion,” Abby Bishop, a freshman English major from Canyon, said. “The book really focused on the Islam religion, and Turkey I think is either 98 or 99 percent Islamic so it’s quite a bit of the same culture.”
In addition to teaching English to children at the school in Goreme, they also will stay with the families of some of the children at the school. This will give them an opportunity to experience the Turkish culture firsthand while helping the children practice their English-speaking skills at home. The trip also will include visiting sites in Instanbul, Kusadasi and Ephesus. The travelers will return to Amarillo on Sunday, March 21.
Tiffani Garcia, a freshman education major from Denver City has never traveled abroad before and is looking forward to the trip to Turkey.
“I’m more excited about learning about the culture and finding out things about myself, how I adapt in those kind of situations,” she said. “I’ve never really been put in a situation where you’re kind of thrown into something so I think it will be a really good experience.”
Faculty members joining Campbell on the trip are Dr. James Hallmark, provost/vice president for academic affairs, and Dr. Eddie Henderson, dean of the College of Education and Social Sciences. Also going is Amanda Tyson Brookhart, a senior speech communication major from Hereford, as a peer leader.
The 16 students who will travel to Turkey are listed by hometown.
Alisha Davis, freshman pre-law major
Jarrett Jackson, freshman business major
Haley Stoddard, freshman psychology major
Miguel Garcia, freshman English major
Abby Bishop, freshman English major
Corbin Russell, freshman psychology major
Tiffani Garcia, freshman education major
Kalli Ritterbush, freshman pre-physical therapy major
Natalia Rodriguez, freshman animal science major
Sara Saucedo, freshman English major
Ethan Wales, freshman mass communication/broadcasting major
Brandon Boyd, freshman computer information systems major
Taylor Cutbirth, freshman education major
Colton Risinger, freshman pre-medicine major
Brandy Roberts, freshman undeclared major
Jaqueline Cervantes, freshman business major