The Roger Short Travel Scholarship Diaries


Sufficient funds have been raised to finance a travel scholarship programme to Turkey and neighbouring countries (particularly Greece, Bulgaria and Cyprus, but with the emphasis on Turkey), in perpetuity. This is an extension of a travel scholarship programme already in place at the College. Students are required to write a journal of their travel and experiences, a copy of which is kept in the College Library. Read excerpts from some recent Turkey travel scholarship journals below.


Please click here for further information about The Roger Short Memorial Fund.


2012 Scholars


Wahid Amin Turkey Travel Diary


Wahid M. Amin (2010, Theology DPhil)

Wahid Amin is completing a DPhil in Theology. His research focuses on the relation between Greek and Arabic philosophy, with a special interest in how Avicenna’s philosophy was adapted for theological purposes. He travelled to Turkey to visit four libraries - in Istanbul, Ankara and Konya - that contain the works of Nasir Al-Din al Tusi, a 13th century Islamic polymath who wrote one of the most significant theological summas of late medieval Islam.  

"I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the Roger Short Memorial Fund as well as University College, Oxford, for their kind award of the Roger Short Scholarship. I’ve had a truly memorable experience in Turkey and my research has benefitted significantly due to this award, without which I would not have had the opportunity to visit Turkey or access to the vital historical material I needed to support my DPhil. Thank you!"


Thomas Cole-Turkey

Thomas Cole (2010, History)

Thomas Cole is a 3rd year undergraduate reading History. He travelled to Istanbul, followed by a ten day tour of the Western coast, Canakkale, the ancient city of Troy, Gallipoli, Izmir, Selçuk and Ephesus. His History thesis is on the applicability of the idea of an ‘informal British Empire’ to Turkey in the late 19th and early 20th Century, and the impact of Turkey on the formation of British foreign policy at the turn of the 19th/20th Century. He was accompanied on his travels by Krista Sirola.

"My two weeks in Turkey provided me with a fundamentally unique experience which I could never have experienced without the benevolence of a Roger Short Scholarship. I found the Turks to be a welcoming and friendly people, whilst the country presented much more than two weeks could satisfactorily fill."


Oliver Dammone & Julia Schollick-Turkey

Oliver Damone and Julia Schollick



Oliver Dammone (2005, Chemistry, DPhil) studied Chemistry as an undergraduate at Univ (2005-2009) and stayed on for a DPhil in Chemistry. He is interested in renewable energy and wished to visit Turkey because of its leading position in the solar power industry. He toured part of Turkey for two weeks by cycle, accompanied by Julia Schollick. Julia Schollick (2007, Chemistry, DPhil) studied Chemistry as an undergraduate at Univ (2007-2011) and has stayed on for a DPhil in Chemistry. They travelled to Istanbul, cycled to the Kaymakli underground city (a 59 mile round trip), travelled to Cappodocia, and cycled from Goreme to Lake Egirdir in the following segments: Goreme - Aksaray, Aksaray - Konya, Konya - Beysehir, Beysehir – Sarkikaraagac, Sarkikaraagac - Egirdir. 

“Our overriding memory of the trip is simply the kindness we were shown by Turkish people on the roads. We would like thank the benefactors of the Roger Short Memorial Fund for their generosity, it is greatly appreciated as we have had an experience that we will never forget.”


Edward Lewis  (2010, History)

Ed Lewis is a 2nd year undergraduate, reading history. He chose University College because of his interest since school days in the Byzantine Empire and the knowledge that, if accepted by Univ, he would be taught by Dr. Catherine Holmes, our Fellow in Medieval History and a specialist in Byzantium. Two of his history option courses are on The Crusades and Byzantium in the 12th century. He travelled from Istanbul to Sofia, and then on to Thessaloniki.

"So, overall I have fallen a little bit in love with this area of the world. This history, the thing that drew me here, has exceeded all expectations. I have tasted some incredible food, seen some amazing sights and met many fantastic people. Despite it being so hot and draining much of my energy, the cities I went to have a real vitality to them that seems to replenish your energy levels. My trip has encouraged me to travel as much as possible…Most importantly though, my trip has really fuelled my enthusiasm for Byzantine history, and has given me a vivid context in which to place what I’m reading about…A massive thank you to everyone who is involved in the Roger Short scholarship fund." 


Krista Sirola-Turkey

Krista Sirola (2011, History)

Krista Sirola is a 2nd year undergraduate reading History. She spent two weeks in Turkey exploring the country, first in its perhaps most famous city, Istanbul, and then on a journey down the western coast of the country, accompanied by Thomas Cole. She has a special interest in the late Byzantine Empire, and in Muslim/Christian frontiers in medieval and early modern Europe, which are likely to feature in her special subjects.

"One of my most lasting memories of Turkey are ones of its culture and especially food. I have become an avid fan of meze, and must also thank Victoria Short here for introducing I and Thomas to not only a great deal of information on Turkey historically and at present but also to various meze, small Turkish dishes, when we met her in Istanbul."

"I wish to thank the Roger Short Memorial Fund for their generosity in providing me with this brilliant opportunity exploring a country that I am sure I will revisit."


2011 Scholars

Joshua Barley (2008, Classics)

Joshua Barley is reading Classics. He travelled to remote North East Turkey, with the main purpose of investigating the influence of Greece on this part of the world. To this end he visited the rural communities near Trabzon, where a dialect of Greek is spoken which is the closest known relative to the Ancient Greek language. “I am fascinated by Greek linguistics: I study both Modern Greek and Ancient Greek and I am probably doing a thesis on the development of Greek”. He then travelled further east, visiting small rural communities, for comparison with rural Greek culture, before travelling through Greece on the way home.

Sarah Dicker (2009, History)

Sarah Dicker is studying Turkey extensively for her Further Subject, “The Near East in the Age of Justinian and Muhammad, 527 – 700”. This module has focused on the Islamic expansion out of the Arabian Peninsula into Turkey and the Middle East, as well as on the history of the 6th and 7th century Byzantine Empire. During her trip she visited relevant sites in Istanbul, Selcuk, Ephesus, and the Zelve Monastery in Cappadocia. Prior to her travels, Sarah said, “I feel that the experience of witnessing Islamic culture first-hand will be invaluable to my studies. I am also interested in experiencing the extent to which the Byzantine Church, and its physical representations in architecture and art, differ to its sister in Rome.” She travelled with Elizabeth McDonald.

Rodrigo Garcia-Velasco (2009, History)

Rodrigo Garcia-Velasco is reading History, with a particular interest in the Crusades. He used the award to cover the Crusader route from Istanbul to Damascus. However, instead of a horse, he made use of the Interrail train pass for Turkey, and individual trains in Syria. Prior to his travels, Rodrigo said, “I believe that to achieve a deep understanding of the source materials I am studying, it is not enough to look at the photos of the castles and temples that are narrated in the chronicles. The events happening since January in the Middle East will make the trip more exciting.” According to his tutor, these plans fit very well into many elements of Rodrigo’s academic interests and courses.

Elizabeth McDonald  (2009, Classics)

Elizabeth McDonald is reading Classics. She is studying Roman architecture for Mods and is planning to further specialise in this area by taking the Roman Art and Archaeology, and the Roman Cities and Settlement papers for Greats. Prior to her travels she had never had the opportunity to see the architecture of the Eastern provinces, which is interesting because of the regional variations that occur through the amalgamation of Roman and local materials,  traditional designs, and building styles. “I am considering the possibility of doing a thesis in Roman Architecture as part of my Greats course and the opportunity to see first hand the evidence of the architecture of Roman Turkey would be extremely useful.” She travelled with Sarah Dicker.

2010 Scholars

Marcel Dietsch (2008, International Relations)

Marcel is conducting research on the cooperative policies of gas-exporting countries and their impact on gas-importing countries. Turkey is one of his case studies because it imports 93% of its gas (predominantly from Russia) and is intimately affected by the strategies of the gas-producing cartels. Marcel used his award to visit Istanbul and Ankara to visit libraries, gather data and interview diplomats in the Turkish Foreign and Economics Ministries and business executives at Turkey’s state-owned BOTAS Petroleum Pipeline Corporation.

Samuel George (2009, PPE)
SAM'S JOURNAL (coming soon)

Samuel explored Turkey’s rich past in order to inform his understanding of present-day Turkey, visiting the main cultural sites of Istanbul as well as Ephesus. As someone brought up and educated in New Zealand, he has a special interest in the Dardanelles, where so many Australian and New Zealand troops lost their lives in World War I.

Christopher Lack (2008, PPE)

Chris visited historical sites in Istanbul and North East Anatolia, with the emphasis of his on trip meeting local people in order to get a feel for modern Turkish culture and attitudes to politics.

Molly Scott (2009, PPE)

Molly used her travel award to visit some of the main cultural sites of Western Turkey and to inform herself better about the politics of Turkey to add another dimension to her study of comparative government.

Jesse Simon (2009, History)

Jesse is a student of Late Antiquity, looking specifically at the built environment around the time when the focus of the Roman Empire was shifting from Rome to Constantinople. Istanbul and the whole of Asia Minor plays a pivotal role in his study. He used his award to obtain a physical sense of the world he is studying.

Amy Ward (2008, History)

Amy is reading History, with a special interest in the Byzantine Empire and its coexistence with Catholic Europe in the medieval period. She used her award both to visit many of the classical sites of ancient Turkey and to gain a better understanding of medieval Turkey.

Xiaowei Xu (2008, PPE)

Xiaowei reads PPE, specialising in development economics. She used her trip to get a feel for the country as a whole and to appreciate the differences in lifestyle, culture and political attitudes between the cosmopolitan West and the traditional, underdeveloped East..

2009 Scholars

Lucy Fisher (2007, Classics)

Lucy travelled extensively in Western Turkey, visiting the sites of important historical interest.

Kate Purcell (2008, Law)

Kate used her travel scholarship to retrace the difficult and often dangerous path taken by many asylum seekers from the refugee camps of Syria, across the border into Turkey and over the Aegean to Greece, the perceived gateway to Europe.

Carys Roberts (2008, PPE)

Carys is a PPE student with a special interest in Middle Eastern politics and European integration. She used her Roger Short Travel Scholarship to visit the Middle East and Turkey.

2008 Scholars

Michael Gibb (2007, Philosophy)

Michael travelled to Turkey to find out more about the Abkhaz community in Istanbul and its surrounding cities.

2007 Scholars

Ethan Kay (2006, Politics)

Ethan used his travel scholarship to explore the pressing political and human rights issues facing Turkey and understand their broader implications in the context of European Union accession aspirations.

Robert Phipps (2005, History)

Robert spent five weeks travelling accross Turkey on a journey that blew away his pre-conceptions of the country.

2006 Scholars

Oliver Walker (2001, PPE and MPhil Economics)

Oli visited Istanbul to work on a British Council project promoting Turkey's accession to the EU. He also travelled around other parts of Turkey, where he spent some time mountaineering.

Rebecca Green (2004, History)

Becki visited Turkey on a shared scholarship with Andrew Cammish (2004, History) to increase their understanding and knowledge of Turkish history 900-1122AD and the Crusades.

Gabrielle Savage (2003, Classics)

Gabby visited the West Coast of Turkey and the Greek Islands to gain an appreciation of the cultural, political, religious and literary influences preserved or inspired by this historic border between East and West.

Skye McAlpine (2003, Classics)

Skye visited Turkey and Greece on a shared scholarship with Kajji Santospirito (2003, Maths) to study the cultural relationships between the two countries and, in particular, to visit a number of their archaeological sites of interest.

Doug Gilman (2005, International Relations)

Doug visited Turkey to study the pressure of human rights reform arising from Turkey's exposure to European values and the implications of this for businesses.

2005 Scholars

Theodore Papaioannou (2003, Archaeology) and Edwin Nissen (2004, Geology)

Theo and Ed were two of the first students to be awarded RSMF Scholarships to travel in the Middle East for study purposes. Theo writes: “Thanks to the generosity shown by friends of Roger, I was fortunate enough to spend 6 weeks in Turkey over the summer, conducting research for my thesis in Archaeology. I visited Istanbul, Bodrum, Aphrodisias, Pergamon, Priene, Miletus, Ephesus, Sardis, Troy and Iznik. The funds allowed me to spend longer periods of time at each site, giving me a chance to get to know the area and its people more closely.”

Ed adds: “For my Earth Sciences DPhil I am studying earthquakes and tectonics in Asia, and this Fund, together with another College travel grant, gave me the opportunity actually to visit some of the faults in this field. I travelled to western Turkey, where earthquakes have always been a deadly hazard, and seeing the faults in person helped me to interpret corresponding satellite images. Once the tectonics are understood, we will be better able to predict where future earthquakes may occur and reduce the risk to human life.”

If you have any questions about the Roger Short Travel Scholarships or this webpage, please contact the Development Team.


Online Community