Katherine Bottieri, a UConn senior majoring in Political Science and in the fast-track master’s program for Public Administration, was one of seven students who participated in the study abroad program on Sustainable Energy and Development in Istanbul, Turkey, last summer with Professor Oksan Bayulgen. While Bottieri mentioned she learned a lot from the program, she said, in particular, that seeing the Turkey’s electoral process unfold in front of her was both scary and exciting. “It was neat to have my parents say, ‘Oh, I read about Turkey’s elections in the news today,’ and then for me to actually see them.” She also mentioned seeing and hearing fireworks the night of the election (June 7th) in celebration of the majority party’s being weakened by the minority Kurdish political party, which gained seats in parliament.
Bottieri was attracted to this study abroad program mostly because of the internship opportunity it provided. “I had wanted to go to Turkey, and the course was already in my department [Political Science], so it just made sense.” While in Turkey, she and another student worked for an energy company called Enka, which facilitated a business trip for them to two power plants where they got a firsthand experience of the inner workings of the company.
When thinking about other aspects of the course that made it very valuable, Bottieri emphasized the importance of having Professor Bayulgen lead and teach the course. “To be there with someone who is from Istanbul, who was willing to connect us to her friends and family there, really was a great resource. It gave us an insider’s perspective. We even got to see her brother’s band play one night! I mean, we had many cultural experiences, but these were ones that were more organic and firsthand.”
Overall, Bottieri expressed how incredible the experience was. She described going to a beach in Izmir one night and talking with her internship boss and enjoying the scenery. “I am just so grateful and happy to have worked at the company that I did.” In the video below, Katherine Bottieri speaks more about her experience as a student who participated in UConn’s study abroad course on Sustainable Energy and Development in Istanbul, Turkey.