From celebrating in fiestas and seeing Notre Dame to teaching in classrooms and working with CEOs, Bob Jones University students were anything but idle over the summer.
This summer, BJU offered four study abroad courses to Spain, France and the United Kingdom. Elise Snow, a sophomore Spanish major, returned from four weeks in Spain with six credits.
Led by Dr. Amos Kasperek, a faculty member in the BJU divison of modern language and literature, the group toured Madrid, Cartagena, Aranjuez and Toledo.
Snow said she got to see what it is really like to be a part of a family in Spain. Snow’s favorite memory was sharing the Gospel with her host family. “As I had the opportunity to share the Gospel with [the host], it’s like the barriers around language were just removed,” Snow said.
The study abroad course to France, led by Dr. Jeremy Patterson, chair of the division of modern language and literature, stayed south of Paris where they saw many sights.
Senior French major Daniel Hudson said his experience helped him develop his French knowledge and challenged him from a cultural perspective.
“It’s just always helpful to be able think a little more and examine what you believe,” Hudson said. Beyond the planned course, Hudson also took a day trip to Omaha Beach for the 75th anniversary of D-Day. “There were so many things going on, so many parades and all these people dressed up and more American flags than French flags, actually,” Hudson said.
Another course also studied in France this summer under the direction of Dr. Carl Abrams, a faculty member in the history division. Instead of focusing on the language, the course focused on history with the students researching historical sites before they visited. While at the site, students would discuss it’s significance. The group even visited the Louvre one day and encounted a BJU grad.
“We [the BJU family] are literally everywhere!” Abrams said.
Crossing the channel, the UK course, led by Dr. Paul Radford of the division of communication, completed a course focused on William Shakespeare, C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien.
Joanna Ryland, a junior accounting major, said she fell in love with the UK right away.
One of her favorite memories was seeing Stonehenge. She also appreciated the cultural experience. “It’s tricky to see it as a different culture because they speak the same language, but the way they do things is somewhat different,” Ryland said. Ryland wants to use her business skills to help support a missionary or a church and said her time in the UK showed her how doable that is.
Other BJU students had internships in their chosen fields.
Senior graphic design major Marcus Tiplea interned at X-Agency, a marketing firm in Greenville and worked on print projects, social media and web products. “I had a lot of encounters with the actual clients,” Tiplea said. “I was able to work directly with the founders and the strategist and the creative director. I think it was really helpful to learn a little bit of the ropes in the industry.”
Tiplea said God taught him that no matter the industry God calls you to, the people are what matters most. Tiplea encouraged students to take initiative and invest in people.
Students didn’t just intern locally, however. Kimberly Cornelius, a graduate student majoring in Intercultural Studies with a Bible translation and linguistics principal, completed a five-week internship in southern China.
Cornelius was one of seven BJU students serving on a 50-member team teaching English at a summer camp. Cornelius co-taught fifth grade classes. “We wanted them to not just be able to know more English, but we wanted them to be able to use it more fluently in conversation,” Cornelius said.
One of her favorite memories was giving Bibles as gifts to her Chinese teaching assistants. “Just having the opportunity to give a Bible to someone who does not know much about Christianity . . . just to be able to give them a Bible in their own language and just see the excitement that they had . . . I realized that’s something I love doing,” Cornelius said.
BJU students also served on eight different University mission teams.
Senior English Literature major Arianna Smith was part of the Antigua team, led by Jonny Gamet, from the department of intercollegiate athletics, and his wife Kathryn Gamet, a faculty member in the journalism and mass communication department.
The Antigua team worked for 12 days at the Caribbean Radio Lighthouse to help paint a radio tower, produce radio commercials and complete many other projects. “I think it’s a really unique team experience because you’re working with professionals who are out on the field,” Smith said.
The team also worked with children’s ministries. “I really enjoyed working with the children,” Smith said. “They just love life and are so excited for you to be there.”
Also ministering in the Caribbean, Carlos Cruz, a graduate student completing a master of divinity, served on the Cuba team, led by Mark Vowels, division chair of the division of ministries.
Cruz enjoyed building relationships with team members. “It was cool seeing how through ministry and through serving the Lord you connect with people,” Cruz said.
The team worked with a seminary and two churches, doing door-to-door evangelism, serving in church services and working in children’s ministries. “They were very encouraging for us,” Cruz said. “I’ve always been curious about how the Lord works in a country with this political system.”
Cruz said he learned the importance of service and humility through watching a Cuban pastor and his wife minister to team members.
“Every morning they would wake up early to make breakfast for us,” Cruz said. “That was just an illustration . . . of what Jesus taught about serving others, about how leadership is about serving. It was pretty obvious that it wasn’t a burden for them to do that, but it was a joy.”