My study abroad plans were in limbo due to Turkey’s failed coup. My program wasn’t cancelled, but I did make the decision to withdraw. However, thanks to ISEP and the Department of State, my study abroad plans won’t be canceled.
After the coup I contacted ISEP in order to figure out what to do. They responded quickly and told me that I had three options.
Option 1: Wait and see if the political unrest in Turkey dwindled down. This would mean postponing my study abroad plans until Spring 2017. But I would only be allowed to continue if Turkey stabilized.
Option 2: Wait another semester or year. After the wait I would then restart the ISEP placement process. This would allow me to pick a program outside the Middle East and North Africa region. In the meantime, I would be refunded all ISEP expenses such as application and insurance fees.
Option 3: See if the school ISEP assigned as my second placement could still accommodate me.
Option 1 was immediately knocked out since the Turkish military, political, and educational purges were at their height during the time.
Option 3 was pricey. Flight cancellations, new bookings, new fees, and more applications to fill out. And that was if I got lucky and my second placement still had room for other students.
Thus, Option 2 was the more reasonable option. However, a miracle from the U.S. Department of State saved me.
Back in March I had submitted an application to the Gilman International Scholarship Program. Recipients were supposed to be notified in early June but there was a delay due to the number of people that applied.
Instead, e-mails were released in July. As luck would have it, I received one notifying me that I was selected as a Gilman Scholar!!
Thanks to the Gilman International Scholarship Program I was able to contact ISEP about Option C. After a few quick e-mails between ISEP and my home institution, I was notified that I would be able to attend my second placement.
Which means that I will now be attending school in Morocco for Fall 2016!!
Which also means that I leave in 5 days.
Things were changed really fast.