Study Abroad: A Student's Perspective
By Alikay Wood ('15)
English major from Sacramento, Calif.
Study Abroad is one of the most emphasized aspects of modern college education, so it was no surprise that within a month of arriving at ACU I had already filled out my application to spend the spring semester of my sophomore year in Oxford.
ACU’s Study Abroad program is the very definition of adventure. ... It has been the most difficult, most fun and most exciting four months of my life.
I spent over a year planning my entire life around those four months. A year turning down other opportunities and saving every penny I could to put toward this one elusive dream: a semester in Europe.
Beyond the travel
If we're being honest, the abroad part of Study Abroad is emphasized far more than the studying aspect. I forgot classes were even involved until the day I arrived and then I expected them to merely be a way to fill our time between travels.
But the classes and the people, not the places, ended up being the most influential part of my experience. I have grown more intellectually in four months than any other time period of my life.
Living in a center for academic activity and being challenged by professors who have explored the world over has expanded my mind beyond what I thought was possible. We have spent four months building a community that is strong enough to handle discussing every issue imaginable and willing to test ideas and theories on each other without fear of rejection.
Our studies only served to enhance our travel experiences. Traveling is so much more than just seeing beautiful cities. It is experiencing pieces of an incredibly complicated world and gaining an understanding and appreciation for the broken beauty of the world.
Traveling is so much more than just seeing beautiful cities. It is experiencing pieces of an incredibly complicated world and gaining an understanding and appreciation for the broken beauty of the world.
At the end of my four months abroad I will have visited seven countries. I have seen the Rosetta Stone and the Mona Lisa, I have visited the largest mosque in central Europe and eaten meals with Muslims and Christians alike.
A few surprises
I signed up for Study Abroad in that first month at ACU because I wanted to visit Europe. I didn’t realize I signed up to grow in a community of students eager to seek truth and open to new experiences. I didn't realize I signed up to live with professors who would challenge and inspire me to create a life worthy of the calling of Christ. I didn’t realize I was signing up to become a better version of myself.
ACU’s Study Abroad program is the very definition of adventure. It is more than an opportunity to travel or experience the world; it is a chance to discover yourself and find God across cultures and geographical barriers. It has been the most difficult, most fun and most exciting four months of my life.
So why study abroad? Because Study Abroad doesn’t just offer you the opportunity to experience another culture, it offers you the opportunity to become a better person.
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