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Overseas Study Tour Opens New World for OCU Grad
When Oklahoma City University graduate student Mary Louisa Smith took a two-week study tour to Turkey in May, she thought she would try some new food, take in the beautiful countryside and learn more about Islam. Smith did all of those things, but much to her surprise she also landed a job, fell head-over-heels in love with the country and decided to move across the globe. Smith started her new job last month as an English teacher at Nilfur School, a private elementary school in Bursa, Turkey. “This is the first time I’ve worked more than 30 minutes from home,” Smith said about her new global career. Smith, who traveled to Turkey with a faculty-led group from Oklahoma City University as part of her graduate religion studies, was touring Nilfur School when one of its administrators told her about a job opening. Smith, who had decided she wanted to spend more time in Turkey, said the offer immediately grabbed her interest. Smith accepted and now teaches English to third and fourth graders at the school. “Everyone has been so nice and welcoming,” Smith said. “I’m looking forward to getting to know more people, learning a new language and a new culture.” Smith said her travel opportunity through OCU’s Office of International Education opened up a new world for her. During her tour of Turkey, Smith toured Istanbul, one of the world’s most historic cities; Bursa, rich with Ottoman architecture; Kutahya and its ceramics; Ismir, rich in Biblical history; Antalya’s Roman ruins and the tomb of Rumi in Konya, one of Islam’s holiest sites. “I didn’t want to leave,” Smith recalled. Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts in youth ministry from OCU and a Master of Arts in religion. She previously worked with the youth group at Leland Clegg United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City. For more information about opportunities through Oklahoma City University’s Office of International Education, call (405) 208-5022 or email