My name is Brenna Knippen and I am from a suburb of Chicago, Illinois. I am currently pursuing a BA in Archaeology and Classical Studies at the George Washington University.
I originally began this blog when I was a young, naive, and excited 16 year-old traveling to Turkey for the first time on a U.S. State Department-sponsored NSLI-Y summer scholarship. I had never been to Turkey before and at the time, only knew about the general history and location of the country. However, I fell in love with the beautiful and pervasive culture so much after that short experience that I found myself looking for any opportunity to go back. During this life-changing summer, I lived with a Turkish host family in the northwest city of Bursa, Turkey while taking intensive Turkish language classes for 5 hours a day.
I reapplied for the same NSLI-Y scholarship, this time for the year long program which I planned to take as a gap year, or a year off between high school and college. I was granted this academic-year scholarship from NSLIY and at age 18, returned to Turkey to spend the following ten months living with a Turkish host family, going to Turkish high school, and attending supplementary Turkish language classes.
After achieving a comfortable conversational fluency in Turkish from my gap year, I decided to try to enhance my skills to a professional, working level to use in any possible future endeavors. After applying for multiple Turkish language programs, I was selected as a fellow for the American Research Institute in Turkey’s (ARIT) summer language program. I spent a summer living in Istanbul while attending daily advanced Turkish classes everyday at Bogazici University.
This blog has chronicled all these separate experiences. Its possible to follow my clear development of character, maturity, (and writing abilities) through my many blog posts and pictures. I hope that this blog will continue to document my current and future travels through this amazing country and hope that it gives some small insight into the rich and mesmerizing culture and history of Turkey.
For more information on the NSLI-Y program: click here
For more information on the ARIT-BU fellowship: click here