Studying abroad brings student learning to life

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April 7, 2017
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April 7, 2017

Studying abroad brings student learning to life

Have you ever looked out of your dorm room window and thought of leaving your everyday routine and jumping on a plane to travel the world?

Well, there is a very popular way to both earn academic credits and expand your view of the globe—study abroad.

At Bob Jones University, there are two ways to study abroad for credit. Students can either go abroad through an opportunity offered by BJU or from another university.

Dr. Amos Kasperek, from the Division of Modern Language and Literature, said that BJU does not have a standard study abroad program but has division-sponsored trips that are led by faculty.

Study abroad in Spain, for example, has been arranged by Spanish faculty members for nearly 10 years.

It is also the University’s only program that includes both course work and residency with a native family.

Offered every other year, the Spain study abroad trip takes place over one month during the summer.

Students earn six credits from classes, live with host families, travel around Spain, take part in community events and help a local church ministry. At times, the trip has been offered in consecutive years when student interest is high.

The next trip is scheduled for the summer of 2018. Applications will open in September 2017.

Meagan Ingersoll, a BJU alumnus and staff member, went on the faculty-led BJU study abroad UK trip in May 2016.

“We basically road-tripped all over England and Scotland,” she said. “It was amazing!”

Ingersoll said the group explored places such as Stonehenge, Bath, Oxford, York, the Lake District, Edinburgh and the Scottish Highlands.

The trip was led by Dr. Paul Radford from the Division of Communication, and explored the settings of several authors.

The three authors the group centered on were C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and William Shakespeare, who communicated their faith through fictional works.

Prior to traveling, the group completed several reading assignments, and while on the road, Radford gave a series of mini-lectures.

The group experienced several Shakespeare productions, explored the English home of C.S. Lewis, attended lectures and had time to plan trips of their own in some locations. Given some free time, Ingersoll and several others planned a trip to see The Phantom of the Opera, as well. 

“It gives breadth to what you read,” Ingersoll said. “Every day was surreal.”

Nathaniel Hudson, senior accounting student, went the second route: he built his own study abroad experience by finding an opportunity through another university.

He spent 10 weeks one summer studying in France.

Altogether, Hudson studied French and international communication.

He spent his first five weeks studying at the Université Catholique de Lille, which is located in northern France, about an hour and a half drive from Brussels.

He spent his next five weeks in Paris at Sorbonne Université where he focused more on French classes for his minor.

“It was the best summer of my life,” Hudson said. “Summer school is more chill, especially in Europe. They understand that you are coming in after a busy semester and provide you with a more hands-on experience, rather than just tests and assignments.”

If students wish to earn credit for courses taken outside of BJU, they need to submit a request to the Registrar’s Office. The form can be found at the Hub, located on the second floor of the Student Center, or online on StudentCentral.

Once the courses are approved and the student has completed the course, the office communicates with the host university in order to accept the credits.

Five to six months later, the process was complete, and Hudson was informed that he had received 17 credits.

He suggested that students under time constraints should be aware that credits take several months to be finalized.

But with so many options and outside programs, Hudson, Ingersoll and others encourage their fellow students to find a program and leave their comfort zone. 

“Study[ing] abroad is a vital part of a 21st century university education,” Kasperek said. “The United States has the reputation abroad of being elitist and insular. Study[ing] abroad helps students see that the world God created is much larger and much more diverse than what we see.”