Eda Altiok-Study Abroad - Carnegie Mellon University

Eda Altiok

"I think the world is becoming more international... You need people that have language experience, experience with other environments... You need to have the people skills, which I think are developed abroad."

Meet Eda Altiok...

Eda grew up in Princeton, New Jersey.  She is majoring in Biological Sciences with a minor in Biomedical Engineering.  In the fall of 2008, Eda had a life-changing experience when she studied abroad in Barcelona, Spain.

Before She Went

Since her parents are from Turkey, Eda has traveled abroad before.  So when she was thinking about what her study abroad experience might be like, she felt comfortable knowing that she knew a little bit about being abroad. It was very important for Eda to have the opportunity to travel and visit many places in Europe.  Before going to Barcelona, she was excited to meet a lot of "cool people" and be culturally versed.

Arrival to Barcelona

Arriving to Barcelona, Eda noticed that the people were very proud. When she arrived to her school, she was thankful to live in a dorm where the students spoke many dialects of Spanish.  With friends that were eager to teach and be patient with Eda, it wasn't difficult for her to learn and adapt to the language.  She was very eager to learn a new language and so she spent much of her time surrounding herself with friends who could teach her.  These people were thankful that Eda was excited to learn!

Living in Barcelona

Eda reported that one of the biggest challenges at first was getting to know the environment, the places, and the people.  With the street signs on buildings, trying to find her classes, and struggling with the language barrier, Barcelona truly was a new place to Eda.  By making new friends, who were welcoming and encouraging, Eda was able to learn some Spanish and through this, Eda felt a sense of comfort and reward.

While she was in Barcelona, Eda participated in the Ultimate Frisbee team. "Ultimate" (as she calls it) really allowed Eda to connect and develop close friendships with people from around the world.  The team went to a lot of tournaments in various countries, such as Italy and Germany, as well as all over Spain.  The team went on to become the national champions!  Eda expressed much pride and joy over her ultimate team.

Eda traveled to many countries in Europe during breaks from her classes.  She went to Croatia, Hungry, and Slovenia.  Traveling gave Eda the opportunity to meet diverse people and become familiar with many cultures.  She reports that her favorite experience while traveling was during her fall break when she and a friend traveled to Croatia and camped out on a mountaintop overlooking a village. 

Looking Back on Her Experience...

It was difficult for Eda to return to the United States because she developed such close friendships and really enjoyed the freedom to travel.  She recognizes that it will take time for her to re-adapt to her home country.

At home now, Eda still finds herself sticking to popular Spanish and European trends and fashion that she acquired while studying abroad.  She also recognizes that her experience made her more aware of how much more she still has to see.  "No matter how much you see, there's so much more out there."  She loves to talk to others about studying abroad and hopes that by sharing her stories and photographs from studying abroad, other students will be encouraged to go abroad too!

Eda Altiok

Eda Altiok
Biological Sciences
Barcelona, Spain
Fall 2008