Partnership allows study abroad courses in Israel

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Partnership allows study abroad courses in Israel

Photo: Jerusalem University College

BJU students from all majors can study in Jerusalem to earn credit toward their degrees due to a partnership the University finalized with Jerusalem University College this year.

“Students who join this program will never be the same again as they return with a new appreciation of the text of Scripture and the God of the Bible as they seek to live their faith,” said Dr. Kevin Oberlin, dean of the School of Religion.

In the summer of 2023, BJU will offer a 4-credit study abroad course, Historical and Geographical Settings of the Bible, in Israel for the first time. In the meantime, students can take individual courses directly through JUC.

Photo & Design: Arianna Rayder

Jeff Evans, the vice president of business and institutional relations at JUC, worked with Oberlin to bring BJU into its consortium, a collection of academic institutions that have special agreements with JUC to award academic credit for courses taken at the Israeli college.

“Dr. Pettit opened the door to a JUC/BJU partnership because he understands the impact that JUC’s Bible training can have on student’s lives,” Evans said.

Dr. Jeremy Patterson, the director of the Office of Study Abroad & Study USA, said the University chose to work with JUC because of BJU President Steve Pettit’s personal connections with the college.

“[JUC] has both the academic rigor and the biblical worldview that define who we are,” Patterson said.

At some point, Patterson hopes to send a faculty member to JUC to facilitate a semester-long course for BJU students.

Dr. Gary Weier, BJU’s provost, also worked to establish the partnership. “[JUC has] some of the best programs when it comes to understanding the lands in the Bible,” he said.

As provost, Weier works to improve academic experiences, such as study abroad opportunities.
Photo: Zenny Bayer

These programs range from two to three weeks to a full semester, providing flexibility to BJU students wishing to study abroad. Courses span topics from Biblical Archeology to Social Settings of Modern Israel.

“There’s the potential to do [study abroad courses] with other students from other Christian colleges in the United States, where our students would join along with them,” Weier said. “There are also opportunities as this grows for it to be exclusive, where it is only a group of Bob Jones University students.”

Although the courses are primarily intended for School of Religion majors, students from any school division can benefit from a study abroad in the Holy Land.

“It would be a benefit to any student from any school,” Weier said. “It would count toward elective credit, but it’s an enriching experience.”

“As a believer, understanding Scripture and then understanding all of life, to be exposed to a different culture, to be exposed to the land where Christ physically ministered here on this earth … is a huge benefit,” he said.

“Students should expect to read the Bible with new eyes after studying with JUC,” Evans said. “JUC students will be able to not only make sense of the places in Scripture that many glaze over, but they will be able to understand their significance in the biblical narrative. Students get the opportunity to live at JUC’s Mt. Zion campus just steps from the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem. After living in Jerusalem for any length of time, students will start to understand and appreciate the lands and cultures of Jerusalem.”

Oberlin suggested interested students watch JUC’s free online seminar on Jan. 8-9, which will provide more information about the college’s course offerings. Students can register for the seminar at juc.edu/transitions-in-the-land-seminar/. After deciding to study abroad, students can complete an application for short-term, long-term or online courses at juc.edu/apply.