Danielle Tustin, a senior criminal justice administration major from Burgettstown, Pa., spent the fall 2011 semester in Seville, Spain, where she studied Spanish at Accento de Trinity, immersed herself in Spanish culture and discovered she loved Flamenco dancing.
Meanwhile, more than 11,000 miles away, Jacob Waltemeyer, a 2012 psychology alumnus from Riverside, Calif., discovered beauty in the Australian countryside and participated in a cultural studies program while living alongside Australian students.
Both Waynesburg University students embraced the opportunity to venture away from the University's main campus to learn and grow in faith and returned to Waynesburg with newfound revelations and worldly perspectives.
Likewise, Emily Schubert, a senior psychology major from Medina, Ohio, gained a new appreciation for both England and the United States while studying abroad during the fall 2011 semester through the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities' (CCCU) Scholars' Semester in Oxford Program.
The Scholars' Semester in Oxford Program is one of several CCCU Best Semester Programs available to Waynesburg University students. With 11 semester programs and one summer program, Best Semester provides students with ample opportunities to refine their worldview through classes and cultural interaction.
“I gained a new level of confidence from studying abroad,” Schubert said as she reflected on the challenges of adjusting to life on a new continent. “It's amazing how traveling to a foreign country, living there for a few months and successfully completing Oxford courses will do that.”
Schubert and the friends she made in England had regular Bible Study sessions and discussions about faith, which she considered a phenomenal growing and learning experience.
“My semester abroad was definitely a time of learning a lot,” she said.
She eventually came to know the lay of the land quite well, daily traversing the streets of Oxford on the bike she rented.
“By the end of my trip, tourists were coming to me for directions!” Schubert said.
The University's remarkable selection of endorsed programs and partnerships span the globe. The programs offer a wide selection from which students can choose an opportunity that best fits their own academic, professional and personal goals.
Anthony Cooper, a senior, sociology (pre-law) major from Lewisburg, Pa., who spent the spring 2012 semester in England with the Scholars' Semester in Oxford Program, explored Dublin and Rome when he wasn't attending classes, seminars and writing research papers.
“My experience abroad helped me grow in so many different aspects of my life,” said Cooper.
“It taught me much as well as exposed cultures I was unfamiliar with, and eventually instilled in me a deeper desire to learn and travel, and to experience as much of the world as possible.”
For Hannah Szymanik, a recipient of the Vira I. Heinz Scholarship for the 2011-12 academic year, studying abroad meant the realization of a life-long dream.
“I've always wanted to teach in Africa,” said the junior early childhood/special education major from Mount Holly Springs, Pa. “And over the summer, I did just that. I taught math and English in a classroom of 41 students in Cape Coast, Ghana.”
Each year, up to five Waynesburg University ladies are offered an experience to study abroad through a $5,000 scholarship.
Angele Hagy, another recipient of the Vira I. Heinz Scholarship for the 2011-12 academic year, said the scholarship impacted her life in ways unimaginable, ways she is still discovering even after the experience, she said. The junior early childhood/special education major from Pittsburgh also traveled to Cape Coast, Ghana, in summer 2012.
“Not only did my scholarship and study abroad experience give me the opportunity to learn more about other cultures, but it has broadened my global perspective, making me much more aware of global issues. It has given me the opportunity to reflect on how blessed my life here is in the United States,” said Hagy, who worked with Hoops Care International (HCI) to empower youth in the community through sports.
Students return to Waynesburg with refined worldviews, expanded cultural experiences and, according to Karen Moyer, a senior sociology (pre-law) major from Conneaut Lake, Pa., who studied abroad with Best Semester's Scholars' Semester in Oxford Program in the spring, “the key to understanding.”
“Before I left to study abroad, I fantasized about returning as a more intelligent individual with all the answers,” Moyer said. “Now that my experience is complete, I have realized I gained something more valuable than that – questions. The right questions are the key to understanding.”