| Education beyond our own backyard
Berea College is a habitat which fosters creativity and opportunity. Berea’s full-tuition scholarship is the greatest opportunity that the college offers its students, but perhaps even greater is the chance to study abroad with little or no personal cost. Berea College will help to fund one study abroad trip for each student during their four years of study. Many students choose to study abroad for a summer term, but there is also the chance to study abroad during a whole semester or even a year.
Berea students abroad
Berea hosts a number of its own study abroad opportunities. Berea International Short Term (now Berea International Summer Term) courses took place in Argentina/Uruguay and France in January, with a course in Egypt this June. Many students may not have time to take a term to study abroad, so they can take the opportunity to do so during the summer. Additional summer courses took place through KIIS (Kentucky Institute for International Studies). Some of the Berea College staff joined KIIS to teach in Japan, Costa Rica, Poland/Ukraine, Mexico, Morocco, and Paris.
Berea also collaborates with a number of foreign universities and study abroad programs. A student may also apply directly to practically any university in the world and transfer the credits at the end of their term abroad.
Financial support from Berea College is available for any field of study in the form of the Global Education Opportunity (GEO) Scholarship, which covers up to 75 percent of the cost of a semester abroad (maximum of $11,000).
Studying abroad is a chance for students to implement the Berea commitment of "God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth" and helps to promote one of Berea’s Great Commitments, “To assert the kinship of all people.” The Berea College environment frees persons to be active learners, workers, and servers as members of the academic community and as citizens of the world. The Berea experience nurtures intellectual, physical, aesthetic, emotional, and spiritual potentials and with those the power to make meaningful commitments and translate them into action.
A Berea Term Abroad allows students to continue their regular study in a different setting. Studying abroad is a two-fold experience which allows students to experience an entirely new culture while completing requirements for their major. Studying abroad can also be a chance to study courses not offered in Berea such as a class focusing on an archaeology dig in Egypt, the location of the world’s largest collection of Pharaonic antiquities.
Megan Whisenant, ’12, traveled for the first time out of the country when she visited Egypt for the June Summer Term. Megan studied Islamic History and Religion while in Egypt along with a group of other Berea students, including Musa Jitmoud, ’12, who was also studying abroad for the first time.
Musa, a Muslim and native of Kentucky, said about the travel experience, “I found it life-changing to be in a country with a Muslim majority.”
Students who participated in the Egypt trip visited ancient Egyptian sites (including tombs, temples, and monuments), several mosques, and the Coptic Christian area of Cairo. They also rode camels in the mountains of the Sinai Peninsula, sailed up the Nile River in felucca sailboats, explored the city of Cairo, and became acquainted with Egyptian culture.
“[Traveling to Egypt] was a great experience, Megan stated, “It has really made think about the things I have here in the US and how lucky I am to have them. It helped me to see how lucky I am to be an American and to not have to deal with the struggles found in a third world county.
Those who have studied abroad have all stated they experienced nervousness before arriving to their destination. But the nervousness has an edge of excitement as well. “It was like walking into a haunted house in the sense that you’re nervous and excited because you don’t know what’s going to happen; but at the same time you know it’s going to be fun,” Megan stated.
But professors and the Center for International Education are here to help students to acclimate and prepare students to experience a new culture. Students who study abroad for a semester or more are required to participate in orientation sessions once a week leading to their departure.
At Berea College the world truly is the limit. Since students can pick almost any program or university in almost any country in the world. Berea now hosts a variety of countries its students have visited for study. Combined, Berea students have visited countries on every habitable continent within this year alone. During the Short Term (which took place in January), students visited countries such as Argentina, Costa Rica, Denmark, Zimbabwe, Kyrgyzstan and many others. During the Spring Term students studied in Australia, Ecuador, Japan, Malaysia, Scotland and others. This summer was especially busy with travel as students traveled to 18 different countries including Australia, Egypt, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Myanmar, and Morocco.
“I would love to study abroad again," Musa states. "There is so much to see in the world. It’s unthinkable that I would miss the chance to see it.”