Seeing Michelangelo’s “David” and the Great Wall of China are just two of the many travel experiences students at Oklahoma Christian University will enjoy this semester on study abroad programs.
On Saturday, the university will send 33 students overseas to study in OC’s European Studies and Pacific Rim Studies programs.
The European Studies group will visit 20 countries while experiencing the region’s culture and history. After stopping in London, the group arrives in Vienna, Austria, which will be home for three months. Students will participate in mission work in Germany and Croatia, a field trip to Italy, a retreat in the Austria Alps, plus many days traveling across Europe.
Sponsors for the group include Pat and Virginia Smith, professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of the university’s Bridge Program, respectively. During this week’s orientation week for the group, the Smiths hosted students for a meal, devotional and group games.
“We have a wonderful group of young men and women beginning the adventure of a lifetime,” Virginia Smith said.
The Pacific Rim group begins in China with its famous silk markets, the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. It continues in Japan with stops in Tokyo, Kyoto and Hiroshima before spending a month living with a host family and attending classes at Ibaraki Christian University.
November and December take a sunnier turn in New Zealand and Australia, where students study and serve along with enjoying nature and many outdoor activities. Students will also participate in mission work at various locations throughout the semester.
Sponsors for this group include Ken and Lindy Adams, recently retired music professor and former journalism instructor, respectively. Ken spent 40 years conducting the university’s Chorale. In April, OC’s Recital Hall was named in their honor.
“This is the last assignment for Ken and I, and we are very blessed to travel with these students,” Lindy Adams said.
According to John Osborne, director of international programs at Oklahoma Christian, the mission of the study abroad program is to deepen and broaden student’s intellectual, social, spiritual and aesthetic awareness as they study, travel and serve in other cultures.
“These once-in-a-lifetime experiences will broaden students’ worldviews while offering experiential learning at its best,” he said.
Noted travel author Rick Steves visited the Oklahoma Christian University campus in March, speaking about “Cultivating a Global Perspective Through Travel.” The event nearly sold out OC’s 1,300-seat Hardeman Auditorium.