Michael Deegan
Mass Communications
Class of 2012
King's Faculty-Led Program
Sofia, Bulgaria, to Istanbul, Turkey

How did you select your Study/Intern Abroad location?

I was really drawn into this program because of the class that I had previously with Dr. Scarboro. I loved him as a Professor as he taught history in an innovative way that really made history interesting to me. Knowing that he had lived in Bulgaria for three years and spoke the language, I knew that he was really going to make this trip into an unforgettable learning experience for all participants. (After being on the trip, I was also very impressed with Dr. Costello, as she was able to address different sociological implications for many of the things that we saw in our travels and she and Scarboro made a great team!)

Why did you want to study or intern abroad?

At King's I feel like I have this great big net of support if I ever need anything at all, and this has made for an incredible college experience so far; but I felt called to break free and extend my horizons. I wanted to experience new cultures and see beyond the mountains of Pennsylvania.

What were the highlights of this experience?

There were so many highlights along the trip. Each city had its own story, its own personality. The Rila Monastery in Bulgaria was a living piece of its country's history. The facility is centuries old and still used. Veliko Turnovo was my favorite city by far. The great fortress that overlooks the city was picturesque. And Turkey-how close, yet, completely different from Bulgaria. The bustling cities were full of merchants, just as they were so long ago-yet the cities were also surprisingly modern.

What surprised you the most?

I think that the biggest custom that surprised me was the fact that Christmas is celebrated in the predominately Muslim country of Turkey. I discovered that they celebrate a secular Christmas, including putting up Christmas trees, buying each other presents, etc. Only they celebrate it on December 31st with the New Year celebration.

How has (or how might) this experience affect your major and future career?

I feel that upon returning from this trip, that I want to see much more of the world and perhaps then begin to understand this concept we call "life." The program was an eye-opening experience to me. The world is so vast and so diverse, areas fraught with problems, others with majesty-places that, before this trip, I did not even know existed. I feel called to be more attentive to global relations that are outside my bubble in Pennsylvania.

What would you tell students considering studying or interning abroad?

I would tell them to take advantage of the many opportunities offered here at King's. The idea of studying abroad and leaving behind all previous connections that you have made so far in life may sound intimidating, but it is one of the most powerful experiences that you will ever have.

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