For more than a decade, the process of going to school has been about the same. You sign up and register for classes, sit in a classroom, listen to a teacher talk for a while and do homework. But what if you had the opportunity to do all of that in another country?
Christy Oden, a senior at Anderson University, had the opportunity last spring to study abroad in Montpellier, France. Enrolled in a school with about 300 foreign exchange students, she took classes in French, such as conversation, writing, and comprehension. “I had about nine classes a week,” said Oden. “But I didn’t have a lot of homework. Most of our work was done in class, and I appreciated that. It was nice to not have to worry about a lot of work so that we could be in France and be in the culture.”
[PHOTO: Anderson University student Christy Oden (back row, third from left) poses with some of her fellow exchange students in France before her return home to the U.S.]
Along with another foreign exchange student, Oden stayed with a French host family. The family was an older couple who had worked with the same school for many years. “Every night at 7:30 we would sit down to have dinner, watch the news and talk about it," Oden said. "We would also tell them our traveling plans while they would correct our grammar.”
Living temporarily in another culture had more of an impact on Oden than just educationally, though. It also expanded her creativity in pursuing other interests.
“I have taken a great interest in the culinary profession, largely due to my time spent in France,” said Oden. Her next step is to pursue a career in the culinary arts. She added, “This could lead me to live, work, and travel abroad.”
The chance to study abroad is indeed a unique opportunity. The education is not restricted to walls; instead, the country and its culture are the classroom.
— Joshua Mifflin is a senior majoring in communication arts and Spanish. Mifflin is an associate with Fifth Street Communications, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,700 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2008, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the fourth consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing, and theology.