Oxford study abroad course planned for May 2016

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Oxford study abroad course planned for May 2016

BJU students have an opportunity to study abroad this May by joining the Division of Communication’s study abroad course to England and Scotland.

The course, though not part of a mission team like the Division of Modern Languages’ annual Spain trip, will allow students to become immersed in the European culture while studying content relevant to the locations visited.

Dr. Paul Radford, event organizer and department head of communication studies, said his vision for this study abroad course began when he went to Oxford on a similar trip.

“I wanted to do it better and cheaper. That’s where it started.” In his experience, it was a very valuable opportunity to rub shoulders with professors and to have a chance to learn more in-depth material.

“We weren’t just reading; we were discussing,” Radford said. “It was a rich learning environment.”Radford teaches several classes including Oral Communication for the Professions and Appreciation of Theater and Film. During his seven years as a faculty member, he has directed several plays and programs including The Living Gallery and Othello and will direct this semester’s Shakespeare classic, Hamlet.

Radford said that his love for great literature, especially that which upholds Christian themes, sparked the idea of a trip to Europe.

“I think our students are hungry to learn,” Radford said. Since study abroad opportunities are a current trend in higher education, Radford believes this will be a great fit for BJU.

“My goal has been to make it less expensive than if they were going to do it for themselves,” Radford said. “That’s always been the heart of the matter. On top of that, you’d have a professor. So it’s a win-win-win situation.”

What can students expect to learn on the Oxford study abroad course? In preparing the course material, Radford chose four specific British authors to study: Shakespeare, Tolkein, McDonald and Lewis. Because their works include Christian or religious themes, Radford hopes to do some “reverse engineering” by looking at the stories and learning from their use of narrative structure to expand the well-known Christian themes.

For students considering the course, two spots are still available to complete the group total of 13 members.

The dates for the trip are May 11-25, 2016. The course may be taken for undergraduate or graduate credit. The cost is $3,500 per student, which includes airfare, transportation, lodging, breakfast, snacks and admission tickets. If taken for academic credit, a tuition of $1,110 is added for a total cost of $4,610.

Details are still being finalized, but Radford plans to take students to Oxford, Edinburgh, Stratford-upon-Avon and London. He envisions a great learning experience to supplement or to contrast what they get in the classroom.

For example, Radford hopes to retrace the steps of C.S. Lewis by taking students to his church and discussing his famous sermon, “Weight of Glory.”

“By taking the subject matter out of the classroom, the course will embed it deeply, richly in the learner,” Radford said. He hopes this will be the beginning of many similar study abroad trips to England and Scotland and is excited for the opportunities it allows Bob Jones University students.

Students may contact Radford at pradford@bju.edu for more information.