Students in Turkey to complete abroad programs despite protests

As anti-government protests have broken out in Turkey’s capital city, some GW students studying there have been forced to relocate and have been encouraged to avoid the protests by University officials.

Study abroad officials have no plans to bring students back early, Robert Hallworth, director of GW’s study abroad office, said, as a group of executive MBA candidates finished a one-week residency June 1 and seven undergraduates finish their semester by mid-June.

Some universities, like Syracuse University, have pulled students out of Turkish programs early because of the protests, which erupted last week by citizens who criticize the government for pulling tighter on its authoritarian grip.

Some of the executive MBA students who had been staying near the protests in Istanbul were forced to move to the other side of the city after the protests broke out, although they were only spending a few more days in the city.

Scheherazade Rehman, an international business professor who led the students on the residency trip, said the group was in Taksim Square when the police began firing tear gas, and that students took video and pictures.

Nine undergraduates studying in Turkey for the spring semester were in the country as the protests began, with two students ending their program June 3 and the remaining students concluding final exams Saturday. A PhD. candidate conducting research in the city is scheduled to return June 15, and Hallworth said he has not been scheduled to return early.

In 2011, the University evacuated most of students studying abroad in Egypt when anti-government protests broke out in 2011.

Students studying abroad must attend a pre-departure orientation program put on by the University where they are encouraged to avoid protests and seek guidance from program directors where they are studying. Hallworth said the guidance was reiterated to students in Turkey by his office Sunday.

This post was updated Tuesday, June 11 at 3 a.m. to reflect the following:

Correction appended

The Hatchet incorrectly reported that the executive MBA students stayed in Ankara. They were, in fact, in Istanbul.

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