Egemen Atak

Egemen Atak, a fifth year engineering major whose parents are Turkish, participated in Beyond Harems and Belly Dancers: Turkish Culture, a virtual education abroad program held in May 2021.

Looking for something to do between the spring semester and his summer internship, Egemen Atak thought he would try “Beyond Harems and Belly Dancers: Turkish Culture,” a four-week virtual education abroad program held in May 2021.

Atak, a fifth year in electrical engineering whose parents are from Turkey, was interested to see what an Ohio State course could teach him about his own culture. The course provides an exploration of Turkey, covering the country’s art, history, government and more.

“I think classes like this are a great opportunity to learn about new cultures. I feel as though it is important to broaden your horizons and learn how other people around the world live,” Atak said. 

Though the course was online, the class was interactive and sociable. His favorite aspects of the course include presentations from experts on Turkish culture and politics, a live music performance connecting music theory and history and a class cooking exercise. 

“I thought cooking together as a class was a fun experience, and something I’ve never done before in college,” Atak said. 

Atak, a musician, was able to apply many parts of this class to his life and future career as an engineer. Before taking this course, he began learning to play classical guitar, and he intends to transition to the bağlama, a seven-stringed Turkish folk instrument. 

“Being Turkish, I mainly focused on the artistic and musical aspects of the class,” he said. “In conjunction with learning about Turkish culture, the class also focused on global competence, which is a useful skill to have in our globalized economy and workplaces.”

Virtual opportunities provide another path for students to gain intercultural competencies and can achieve many of the same learning outcomes observed from traditional education abroad programs. Students interested in online global opportunities should visit globaleducation.osu.edu.