Study Abroad attendance doubled since last fall as 60 students made their final arrangements to study internationally.
Study Abroad was introduced on campus in 1994 as ACU World Class. The program provided students with semester-long immersive learning experiences in three distinct locations. ACU offered programs in Leipzig, Germany, Montevideo, Uruguay and Oxford, England.
During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the Study Abroad program abruptly halted. With Study Abroad resuming in the fall of 2021, the program experienced a surge in participation. However, in the 2022-2023 academic year, the program saw a lull in attendance as 183 students participated over three locations in three semesters.
“Part of [the lull] was [ACU] was still recovering from the pandemic,” Study Abroad coordinator Lindsey Snyder, said. “Part of [the increase] was there were more study abroad student alumni being being on campus talking about their experiences with study abroad.” With more students applying to study abroad,
Despite the COVID-19 changes, the core mission of Study Abroad remains unchanged. According to Snyder, that mission is to educate students in ways they would not be able to experience on campus by exposing them to experiential learning.
“Students are experiencing things in different places and cultures while learning about themselves,” Snyder said. “Students consistently return from Study Abroad having had life-changing experiences, but also experiences they can use in whatever path they find themselves on.”
Sophomore study abroad student and Bible, missions, and ministry major Holden Kennemer hopes his semester in Uruguay will accomplish that mission.
“I hope I learn what it means to grow as an individual while being abroad. Being at home or on a college campus with people you know and love is great, but I think going abroad with people you are not necessarily close with, to a foreign country, is a great way to get to know yourself differently,” Kennemer said.
Last fall, Study Abroad had a decrease in the number of students participating in its programs. Only 35 students traveled abroad across the three locations. However, with more Study Abroad alumnus recounting their life-changing experiences, fall of 2023 Study Abroad students eagerly await their deployment.
“The opportunity to be in another part of the world while working towards my degree sounded more than ideal,” said Moriah Moredyk, study abroad student and sophomore advertising and public relations major from San Antonio. “I look forward to trying new foods and experiences and stepping out of my comfort zone.”
Stationed in Oxford, England, Moredyk will study a curriculum tailored to her experiences. Additionally, in 2021, ACU purchased and renovated a house in Oxford to accommodate 26 students. The new house features eight bedrooms, two kitchens, five reception rooms, a studio, and an outside backyard. Moredyk is “beyond excited” to enjoy the new residence.
Meanwhile, sophomore study abroad student and art and design major Ava Morris said she is most excited to experience total immersion in a foreign culture. According to Morris, study abroad was “a big part” in choosing ACU.
“I am most excited to spend time in new cultures and environments, explore the different sides of God’s amazing creation, and make new friends in the cohort,” Morris said.
The Study Abroad office will celebrate its students’ send-off at 11:30 a.m. on Aug. 30 in the Hunter Welcome Center as they will depart from there.
Applications for the spring 2023 Study Abroad programs are due Dec. 1.