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104.2 Nile FM

Melia Skyline

Egypt’s #1 radio station for hit music! Highly recommended.

I just finished my Problems Without Passports trip to Egypt and Turkey, and I already want to go back (and not just for the fantastic radio stations). Our course was a comparative case study of the different dynamics of religion and democracy in Egypt and Turkey, though each student focused on a different area such as the economy, education, and religious minorities.

My research project focused on different interpretations of Islam in Turkey and Egypt, and the effect that these varying interpretations have on women’s rights. With the help of our incredible professor, the eight of us organized and led interviews with experts in various fields. Every person that we met was extremely brilliant and fascinating to listen to, and also very helpful to all of our projects. Some of my favorite interviews that I personally led included the editor-in-chief of CNN Turk, the Provost of the Department of Political Science and International Relations at Bosphorus University in Istanbul, and the director of the Association for Women’s Total Advancement and Development.

When we weren’t at meetings or doing outside research, we took advantage of every possible minute by exploring the cities of Cairo, Alexandria, and Istanbul (not Constantinople), and all Melia CNNof their beauty. I knocked three things off my bucket list on the very first day! I arrived at our (absolutely stunning) hotel in Cairo at around 3 am. I couldn’t sleep, so I sat on my balcony and watched the sun rise over the Nile. After meeting everyone at our amazing breakfast buffet, we drove to the Pyramids of Giza and spent hours walking around, in, and on top of them.  I rode a camel! I was quite the natural, if I may say so. After that, we visited the Sphinx (casual). It was 128 degrees, but we were too awestruck to care. Los Angeles, this Seattleite might finally be ready for you.

Later during the summer, we visited the Great Mosque of Mohamed Ali, the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia, the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities (mummies!), swam in the Mediterranean, crawled through the catacombs of Kom El Shugafa, rode down the Bosphorus between Europe and Asia, and did so many other things that I will never forget. As amazing as all of these places were, the people are what I will remember the most.

Egypt and Turkey are two of the the hottest topics right now and are under the eye of the entire world. After meeting so many kind, inspiring people, both in our meetings and on the streets, I not only better understand these issues but also feel an attachment to these places and the urgency of finding a solution. I strongly believe that studying abroad, whether for a semester, summer, or month, is an integral part of everyone’s college experience, exactly for that reason.

“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” –Aristotle

Stay cheesy.

Love, Melia

P.S. We each received a $3000 grant from the Summer Undergraduate Research Fund for our trip! Check it out!

P.P.S. I don’t recommend wearing a maxi dress if you plan on riding a camel that day.

Melia Camel

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