Pinkerton Academy Spanish teacher headed for Turkey
Union Leader, 08.07.2012
At first glance, spending two weeks in Turkey as part of a teacher study tour might not seem like the most obvious fit for a Spanish teacher.
But Pinkerton Academy Spanish teacher Peter Schmidt, who leaves for Turkey on Tuesday, said there is a great connection between Spanish and Turkish history, culture and art.
Schmidt was one of four teachers from New Hampshire chosen to take part in the Teacher Study Tours program organized and sponsored by the Turkish Cultural Foundation in cooperation with the World Affairs Council of New Hampshire.
“Turkey is a place I've always wanted to visit and learn about,” Schmidt said. “I love learning about cultures and languages, and this sounded like the perfect way to get to visit Turkey.”
To be chosen for the trip, Schmidt had to prepare and defend a proposal about what he would learn on the study tour and how he plans on incorporating it into the classroom and the community during the coming school year.
Schmidt said the two-week trip will have a pretty jam-packed schedule.
“We're going to make a lot of visits to a lot of places,” he said. “My teaching plan focuses on a lot of the cross-cultural aspects of Turkish and Spanish art, music and history.”
During the trip, Schmidt said he also hopes to pick up some conversational Turkish.
In addition to bringing back information and ideas for his own students, he said he will be collecting materials for other faculty members in departments such as social studies, Latin and art.
“It will be like I'm a cultural attache from Turkey,” Schmidt said.
Some of the cultural sites Schmidt and the other teachers are scheduled to visit include the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and Hagia Sophia.
There will also be a number of workshops where the teachers will meet school and civic leaders, and learn more about the local art and history.
Schmidt said he is a huge travel enthusiast and takes any opportunity he can to see the world, whether through the schools or in his personal time.
“I want to envelop myself in the local cultures and languages,” he said. By bringing what he has learned back to his students, Schmidt said he hopes to encourage them to see the world.
Since the program's inception, the Turkish Cultural Foundation has introduced 291 American educators to the history, culture and landmarks of Turkey. As part of the same collaborative program, nearly 2,500 teachers across the United States have attended educational workshops on Turkey held by local World Affairs Councils.
The Turkish Cultural Foundation was founded by Nashua residents Yalcin and Serpil Ayasli.
The World Affairs Council of New Hampshire has sent six other teachers to Turkey since the partnership began in 2010.