Sixteen Turkish students accompanied by their families got to experience some southern hospitality at UGA while taking hands-on educational courses meant to strengthen their creativity and knowledge of math, science and other subjects.
The Torrance Center for Creativity and Talent Development, part of the College of Education’s Institute for Interdisciplinary Research in Education and Human Development, hosted the Global Minds Summer Program in collaboration with the Gifted and Talented Education Center of Turkey June 16 through July 5.
The Global Minds Summer Program aims to offer “an international experience but also an academic experience for gifted children,” said Elizabeth Brantley, event planner for the Torrance Center.
“Basically, we’ve put together a program in different content areas that enriches their knowledge of those areas with fun, hands-on activities,” said Sarah E. Sumners, assistant director of the Torrance Center.
Some of the classes included topics such as crime scene forensics, the math and science behind golf, personality psychology and field biology. Visiting students, who mostly hailed from Turkey’s largest city, Istanbul, ranged in age from 6 to 13.
“We were really focusing on classes that are different than what they would get in school,” Brantley said.
UGA master’s and doctoral students as well as Athens community teachers served as classroom instructors during the three-week program.
The classes were taught mostly in English so the native Turkish speakers could hone their English language skills. The visit to Georgia also allowed students to broaden their cultural horizons by interacting with multinational instructors in the UGA classrooms, eating from the diverse selection at Snelling Dining Hall and participating in activities in Athens and Atlanta.
While students were in class, their accompanying parents took English language courses and put what they learned into practice while visiting local restaurants and grocery stores.
The Torrance Center is a service, research and instructional center concerned with the identification and development of creative potential. Its goals are to investigate, implement and evaluate techniques for enhancing creative thinking and to facilitate national and international systems that support creative development.
The center already is accomplished with international education, but the Global Minds Summer Program marks the first time the center has hosted international students in Athens.
Sumners hopes to expand the program next fall with students from even more nations attending.
The program, should it continue to grow, will only strengthen the center’s ability to fulfill its educational mission, Sumners said. It’s also likely to grab attention, too.
“We get a lot of press internationally but not as much domestically,” Sumners said. “This program heightens our publicity as to who we are.”