Why is the Study Abroad Program?
Studying abroad is the perfect way to gain an international perspective, life skills, independence, and maturity. Spending a summer in a foreign culture is challenging and a transformative experience that will help students develop valuable and real-world skills. It is an indispensable advantage for students who value growth, believe in the importance of knowing and understanding the world, and wish to make the most of their life and education. Study Abroad programs offer ambitious and curious students an opportunity to become global citizens, familiarize themselves with other cultures, grasp pressing socioeconomic concepts, be informed citizens and become a valuable member of their communities.
The common ground of being a descendent of the same mother and father make us a global family. Throughout history, some differences were established in religion, culture, and belief systems. In periods where these differences are considered with mutual respect and honor, societies have lived freely and peacefully, while in cases to this contrary enmity, hatred, envy, and chaos have left societies in devastation.
In cultures and societies where religion is not learnt but “inherited” from parents, faith is accepted without internalizing. In time, religion becomes a collection of rituals and obligations that are isolated from values and morals in the rush of bargaining with God for a reward in the hereafter. In the business of exchanging worship for paradise, the relation between practice and values, the wisdom and meaning behind forms of worship in relation to morals and values diminish in time.
As the common grounds of the Abrahamic traditions are mostly on the issues of faith, values and morals, and meaning, reduction of religion into rituals also drifts believers away from the common grounds of the Abrahamic religions. The ignorance on these common grounds of faith, morals and values leaves room for people to be polarized and alienated toward others.
In this program, we will engage in philosophical discussions on common fundamental topics of Abrahamic traditions, such as the purpose of creation, belief in God, worship and supplication. The overall approach will be concentrating on the meaning, arguments of these common concepts (as answers to “why” questions) rather than the forms and answers to “how” questions on the topics. We will also get a chance to examine the most debated contemporary issues such as interfaith dialogue and the misunderstanding of “Jihad” in both Western and Muslim worlds. This program attempts to dispel these misconceptions, allowing students to examine the religion on its roots and foundations of meaning.
Benefits of the Program
Some of the numerous benefits of volunteering, interning, studying, reading and leading for high school and college students in SLA’s Study Abroad Program can be listed as follows:
- An incredible experience abroad in another culture gives the opportunity to acquire a global perspective, break down the limited “we-they” dichotomy, enhance multicultural awareness and experience socio-economic levels different from that of the American society.
- An opportunity for students to develop their leadership skills and social responsibilities in a pressure free atmosphere while having an adventure before they head off to college.
- A chance for students to gain and advance their skills for a stronger resume and to improve chances for college acceptance.
- An exploration for students to find their passion and fields of interests through hands-on learning.
- A scope widening experience to gain a clearer sense of college studies, and to discover the relevance of classroom studies with respect to the world and restore enthusiasm.
- A natural break in between high school and college education to be used productively.
- An obtaining of self-confidence in students and a taste of independent living while sustaining contact with their roots.
- An addition of college credits from courses studies abroad that can be transferred to students’ home institutions.
Program Date: Spring Semester
Application Deadline: …………………..
Eligibility and Criteria for Admission
- Be high school, undergraduate or graduate students, interested in taking a year/semester off to study abroad and participate in programs offered by the Study Abroad curriculum.
- Be a US Citizen/Permanent Resident.
- Be involved in their community and have some experience in leadership.
- Attend a one on one (online or in-person) interview with a SLA Study Abroad Director and pass their interviews. (Directors will reach out to students after having reviewed their applications. Students will also be notified after their interviews if they are eligible to receive a scholarship)
- Acknowledge completing the 1 semester program in full attendance.
- Sign the program’s contract form located at the end of this page.
- Pay a $100 deposit (unless paid online). The deposit will be applied towards the full program price and may be paid by check or credit card. SLA Study Abroad (Spring Semester) Program accepts Visa, MasterCard, and Discover. If writing a check, please make checks payable to Scholars and Leaders Academy. The deposit is non-refundable once your application has been submitted. However, if your application is denied due to eligibility requirements, your deposit will be fully refunded.
Expenses of the Program:
One Semester tuition and fees are estimated as follows*:
- Housing & Dining Expenses: …………………..
- University Tuition: ………………………
1.Study Abroad (3 courses of 3 credits each)
In terms of its study abroad program, participants will be able to take courses in one of……………….… leading educational institutions which offers a high end academic learning environment and has a diverse student body deeply committed to academic excellence.
Offered classes will further enhance students’ intellectual potentials as well as critical thinking and writing skills. In addition, the formats of the various courses offered are designed to broaden their knowledge and strengthen their leadership skills. Focus is given to applying in class knowledge to real life and developing their ability to share these gained knowledge with others. Courses will include comprehensive workshops, critical reading and writing sessions, presentation and public speaking, as well as discussion and debates that will take place on crucial subjects of history, religion, culture, psychology, sociology, and more.
As an outcome of the study abroad program, we aspire to have students gain great expertise in critical reading, efficient writing, and public speaking.
In order to achieve the above-mentioned objectives, the following elements will be included in the course formats:
Critical Reading: Active engagement and interaction with texts is essential to students’ academic achievement along with professional career success and intellectual growth. Research has shown that individuals who read deliberately retain more information and retain it longer.
- Active reading and discussions will take place on selected books and articles.
- Students will be given professional strategies and tips on how to improve their critical reading.
Efficient Writing: Students’ intellect will be judged in college, in the workplace, and in the community primarily based on writing. It is crucial to be able to write fast, effectively and in a well-mannered way. Writing equips students with communication and thinking skills they need to participate in any intellectual and social circle.
- Students will be given writing assignments on issued topics, and will be guided throughout their writing process on developing their ideas, finding focus and a thesis statement, composing a draft, and revising their drafts by expanding ideas, clarifying meaning, and reorganizing.
- Students will present their finished work to their peers and get feedback (peer review).
Eloquent Speaking: The most important aspect of public speaking is to make sure that the audience remembers the speech for days after delivery. A speech should be expressive and articulate in order to be eloquent.
- The deep texts given for study will enlarge students’ vocabulary.
- Through class presentations, students will be trained to improve their voices and diction with active feedback.
- During panel sessions and round table discussions, students will not only examine the strength of their arguments and knowledge, but also observe ways of presenting arguments that may impact the audience.
2. Volunteering and Project Development (1-3 credits):
SLA offers unique opportunities for participants not only to volunteer but also to develop humanitarian projects in communities throughout Turkey, Balkans and various developing countries. Through our partnerships with grassroots NGOs and community-based organizations, participants can make an impact in many different ways ranging from getting involved in existing projects to developing a new project driven by social responsibility and justice in various countries. SLA’s volunteer programs focus on building strong communities through many different ways, including volunteering in non-profit organizations that reach out for the poor in communities, teaching English as a foreign language, mentoring and leading younger youth, and more.
While volunteering at their specified locations, participants will brainstorm and address ways to handle different societal issues by coming up with their own solutions. Participants will apply their knowledge and analytical skills to address environmental, social and cultural issues within the community. This will enhance their learning process by promoting active citizenship and fostering mutual ties between them and their community.
Participants may earn credits for their volunteering and project development experience. Interested parties must first talk to their faculty/administration from their respective college/university.
3. Teaching Assistantship & Travel (TAT) (Following the spring semester study abroad)
SLA is happy to announce its special program for 7th through 12th grade students to gain a teaching experience and be an assistant teacher alongside their instructors during Teach & Travel.
Teach & Travel (T&T) program is an international project aiming to place participants in different countries as an English (ESL) teacher all over the world combined with an opportunity to travel in the respective country of their teaching. Students will instruct students in K-12 on English as a second language in a 3 to 4 week program. Applicants admitted to Teaching Assistantship & Travel (TAT) program will be involved in both of the specified programs listed below:
Teaching Assistantship (TA)
The responsibilities, situations, and conditions of these students’ involvement differ from those in higher education. Common tasks of the TA’s in Teach & Travel will include assisting students with their work, and taking attendance. In addition, students admitted to the position may be asked to teach portions of the English class lessons to small groups of students who need extra instruction. In general, the TAs will shadow the instructor and students, and assist with any classwork, organization, and behavior management.
The travel section includes a 3-day sightseeing tour.
Note to the Applicants:
- Take advantage of your summer vacation
- Explore different cultures
- Meet new people and extend your network
- Use time for yourself while you are young and it is easier
- Discover the relevance of classroom study to the world
- Gain a clearer sense of college studies
- Explore interests through hands-on learning
- Find your passion
- Build self-confidence and independence
- Develop social skills
- Build your resume
More information regarding Teach & Travel may be found on teachandtravel.org.