Junior intercultural studies major Allie Tooley had the opportunity to put her knowledge to work this past academic year. Tooley spent the fall semester studying abroad at Nazarene Theological College in Manchester, England. While there, Tooley studied social justice, sociology and biblical studies.
“The way they do classes there is really different,” Tooley said. “You only meet once a week … The classes are longer, and the lectures are really different. It was a lot of straight-up lecturing. I really enjoyed that I wasn’t in class as often because I had more time to do independent research. … It was kind of intimidating and helped me to refocus everything I was doing. The structure gave me space to read more for my own benefit.”
In addition to the varied classroom style, Tooley had to adjust to a different culture. Fortunately, Tooley said she thoroughly enjoyed the contrast.
“The accessibility of British culture is the thing that I envy most. It’s very community-oriented,” she said. “For instance, the way I would go grocery shopping in England is totally different than how I would shop in the U.S. I would often walk with my friends and use public transport.”
Tooley also commented on the culture of the college itself and how it enriched her study abroad experience.
“I think the most beneficial part of my experience was the community aspect and the way that the culture of Nazarene Theological College shaped my learning,” Tooley said. “The school was very much oriented to ministry, and, as a result, I just think that shaped me in a way I really needed.”
Nazarene Theological College is not the only institution at which Trevecca students can study where credits are transferable. Trevecca is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) and participates in their BestSemester program, which offers study abroad programs in England, the Middle East, Latin America and New York, among others.
Michelle Gaertner, associate dean of student success, is currently helping oversee the study abroad program and commented on the benefits students derive from international study.
“I think by providing the option of study abroad programs, we are expanding the student experience and allowing interested students to live and ‘work’ in a complex global environment,” Gaertner said. “Cross-culture studies provide a unique educational experience that allows students to interact with people and places that are unlike what they are used to. What a great missional opportunity for our students to expand their faith and enrich their lives.”
Tooley recommends that more students take advantage of the opportunity to study abroad.
“I learned so much, not just from the classes, but from the experience as a whole,” she said. “I feel a lot more prepared for graduate school afterward. It was also so much fun, and I’m already planning on going back there. I want other students to be able to go and to know what it was like because it was such a positive experience for me.”