As an incoming freshman, Samantha Bolan of Endwell wasn’t sure where to find Turkey on a map. Now, the pages of her passport are nearly full, with stamps that identify a growing list of her international travel destinations — Turkey included.
Costa Rica and most recently Ghana, in West Africa, are among the other places she’s visited over the years. In a variety of ways, Binghamton University helped get her there.
Bolan’s freshman roommate, who is Turkish, introduced her to Turkey, its culture, customs and traditions. They traveled there together in the summer of 2008. Bolan went back in 2011 to participate in a study-abroad program, with support from the Dr. Israel J. Rosefsky Language and Culture Scholarship.
Bolan’s trip to Costa Rica also occurred in 2008, when she went there as part of a Binghamton University and Habitat for Humanity project to build a library. She returned two years later with a group of students to teach English for a few weeks.
“I’ve always liked to help people. I really like different cultures,” said Bolan, who’s majoring in anthropology and minoring in Africana studies and global studies. She plans to graduate in spring 2013. “I would love to be a travel photographer and writer. That’s my dream.”
Until then, she has worked on campus, in Financial Aid Services and the Hinman College Office. She also chronicles her experiences abroad on a student blog run by the Admissions Office. She participates in the Nukporfe African Dance and Drumming Ensemble, as well as English Conversation Pairs.
“There’s so much going on, so much diversity,” Bolan said.
Although Bolan continues to see the world and gain new perspectives through her travels abroad, the people closer to home, on campus, have made a strong impression, too.
“I love it because of the people. I met my best friends here,” she said. “I’m really lucky and really grateful for all the opportunities and experiences I’ve been able to have.”
Support has come from a variety of sources, including a Binghamton Forum Scholarship awarded in the spring.
“I can look back and say I had a really great college experience. It went above and beyond my expectations,” Bolan said. “If I can do all these things — travel, meet all these people — you can do it, too.”