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Gonzaga’s Study Abroad Program in Turkey Extends University’s Mission, Expands Students’ Human Family

Dan Garrity, Gonzaga University Assistant Professor of Broadcast Studies, directs students in Turkey.

Dan Garrity, Gonzaga assistant professor of broadcast studies, directs student Andrew Opila (right) in Turkey this summer. GUTV photo.

‘What’s The Capital of Turkey?’
And Other Transformative Questions

By Mary Jantsch
Class of 2013

SPOKANE, Wash. – It’s summer on the Gonzaga University campus and I have a meeting with Dan Garrity, assistant professor of broadcast studies. The sun beams down on campus, rendered ghost-town-like this time of the year except for the many camps for young cheerleaders and athletes. As I wind toward the Broadcast and Journalism Center, students are gone, continuing their education with summer internships, exploring mountains and rivers, spending time at home or expanding their human family and global engagement through Gonzaga’s many summer study abroad programs. Cue Professor Garrity.

I take a seat in Garrity’s office with his dog Barkalo at my feet and we begin to discuss Gonzaga’s study-abroad program in Turkey titled, Gonzaga-in-Turkey: Origins & Empires. Seventeen students are taking the program that dives into classical civilization, religious studies and broadcast studies while touring Turkey July 3-Aug. 1.

Garrity, who says the program offers the “Best Homework Assignment Ever,” teaches the broadcast studies course. History Associate Professor Andy Goldman teaches the classical civilization course, while Associate Professor Stephen Kuder, S.J., teaches the religious studies section. All students on the trip must take at least two elements of the three-part program.

This marks the third year for GUTV in Turkey and introduces an experiment with “one-day wonders.” In an attempt to be the fastest travel show online, the crew of four students in Garrity’s course takes one day to shoot a selected site, then one day to edit the program. The 10-minute videos are then uploaded to the  GUTV YouTube Channel as soon as possible after the actual site visit. View all of the students’ shows at the GUTV YouTube Channel. A half-dozen shows are online and more will be posted through July 31.

Watch All Episodes of the Turkish Zag Travel Show

As I prepare to question Garrity, he fires one at me.

“What is the capital of Turkey?”

Racking my brain for any fact about Turkey, all I could come up with was the song “Istanbul (Not Constantinople).” Offering Istanbul as my only guess, Garrity fills me in on the correct answer and we move on. At first, I viewed this merely as my unfortunate, yet inconsequential lack of geographical literacy. As our conversation continued, however, the relevance of Professor Garrity’s question became clear.

Aydin Aygün, a native of Turkey who earned a master’s degree in religious studies from Gonzaga, leads Gonzaga students through his native nation. The program named “The Turkish Zag Travel Show” owes its roots to Aygün, a 2004 alumnus. Alumni mentoring of current students is common at Gonzaga and is but one of the many ways Garrity connects students to the University Mission.

“Everything we do has got to revolve around the Gonzaga Mission,” Garrity explains. “Helping people understand another philosophy, helping people thousands and thousands of miles apart become friends because of a YouTube channel, because of a student’s God-given talents, I hope that just oozes the Mission.”

Through experience-based education and global awareness, the Gonzaga-in-Turkey program brings Gonzaga’s Mission to life.

“By telling these stories, by demystifying what is right now a very mysterious place, by introducing you to a new friend each show, we hope to expose people to some really great ideas,” Garrity said.

Garrity’s question about the capital of Turkey was about much more than geography. Gonzaga provides opportunities for students to learn from and engage in various human cultures. Still, it is not enough to learn the geography of a place while sitting in a classroom in Spokane. As these students invite us into their travels through Turkey, each one of us has the opportunity to expand our human family.

For my sake, I now know the capital of Turkey is Ankara.

Click the image below to view Episode I of the Turkish Zag Travel Show in which the students also outline their goals for the show:

YouTube Preview Image

Experience Turkey with Gonzaga students and watch all of their videos at their YouTube channel (gonzagatv15), follow them on Twitter – @guprofdan – and Facebook (GUTV official page).

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