Students and Faculty Share Study Abroad Experiencesby Kelsey Luffman
MNU’s study abroad program puts a whole new twist on general education. Based in centrally-located Büsingen, Germany, MNU Europe gives students the opportunity to travel Europe while taking general core, directed study, and online classes with MNU faculty.
Brad King, associate professor and coordinator of the physical education program at MNU, was one faculty member who traveled with students in Fall 2012. King said that the beautiful and varied landscapes of Europe provided unforgettable settings for his Recreational Activities course. But beyond physical education, the trip provided a context for students’ individual growth.
MNU students and faculty in the Swiss Alps.
Front row, left to right: Cherith Campbell, Hannah Swearengin, Hayley Pankratz, Lauren Tredoux, Robert Murphy, Katie Love (resident director and director of social life), Erin Knocke, Megan Love (MNU Europe project manager). Back row, left to right: Ty Hall, Caleb Oster, Loren Schmidt, Brad King (associate professor and coordinator of physical education at MNU), Bryce Leatherman, George Tombaugh, Brady Franklin (MNU Europe chaplain).
“The students were amazing representatives of MNU,” said King. “They learned to live in community and grew spiritually as they spent time each day in prayer and sharing. Many of the students helped with a local youth group, and some helped teach conversational English to local residents. All the while they took a full load of classes taught either on-line or on-site.”
Though the eleven students who participated in the Fall 2012 semester of MNU Europe came from a variety of backgrounds and academic majors, they all shared some formative experiences throughout the term. Sophomore intercultural studies major Tyler Hall said that for him, global education and travel are integral to the MNU experience.
“The opportunity to study in Europe was one of the reasons I came to MNU in the first place,” said Hall. “When I first visited MNU, I heard about their study abroad and global mission programs and became interested.”
Hayley Pankratz, a sophomore nursing major, explained why studying in Europe was such a unique academic opportunity.
“Studying abroad has completely changed my worldview,” said Pankratz. “I look at people differently. Being in another country, I had to adapt to the culture and the language – I have grown in so many aspects.”
Sophomore graphic design major Caleb Oster agreed that the experience was life changing.
“I gained more of an appreciation for different cultures,” said Oster. “The semester gave me a chance to be on my own and expand my horizons.”
Students experienced spiritual as well as academic growth in their global setting. Sophomore elementary education major George Tombaugh cited some of the highlights of his trip as working at a children’s English camp in Northern Germany, visiting a monastic community in Taize, France, and visiting Lucerne, Switzerland with fellow MNU students.
“I also had plenty of time to develop my own personal theology,” said Tombaugh. “I think now when a non-believer, or anyone for that matter, asks me a question about God, I can give a more defined answer. I have also grown closer in my walk with Christ.”
The stories of the Fall 2012 group are as unique and varied as the students themselves. Overall, King said, MNU Europe provides students with the opportunity of a lifetime.
“The experiences these students gain will change them and give them a better understanding of our world as a whole,” he said. MNU Europe is offered spring, summer, and fall semesters, depending on enrollment.
To see just a few of the beautiful sites MNU Europe students visited throughout their semester, view Professor King’s photo gallery of the Fall 2012 trip.