This semester, Oklahoma Christian University students and faculty connected with members of the Lipscomb University and Rochester University communities to travel across Europe through the spring study abroad program, which is headquartered in Vienna, Austria.
Returning to campus Tuesday, April 23, the group is led by Jeff and Pattie Simmons and consists of four Oklahoma Christian students, including freshman Jaylynn Mast.
Q. What brought you to Oklahoma Christian?
“I came to OC for many reasons. Oklahoma Christian has strong ties to my part of the Northwest, and I ran into OC recruiters at many church events. From the age of 11, I was pretty set on attending here. My mom is also an alumna, and she always spoke very highly of OC. The biggest contributing factor was visiting campus and realizing how at home I felt. I knew this was where I needed to be for the next four years.”
Q. What all are you involved with on campus?
“As a freshman and studying abroad, I am not as involved as I would like to be, but next fall, I am looking forward to rushing a club, joining the American Marketing Association, intramurals and just participating around campus when I can. I made some great friends last fall, and I felt very involved. We all went to as many events as we could.”
Q. What made you decide to go on the study abroad trip this spring?
“There were also many reasons for this decision. I have always wanted to study abroad, and this was the perfect opportunity. I still had gen eds to complete, so all of my classes here will be used for something. I also am not missing club activities since I haven’t rushed yet. Another major reason was the sponsors; Jeff and Pattie Simmons are amazing. They helped convince me that studying abroad was a good idea for this semester. Since Dr. Simmons is the dean of the college of business, he was able to teach international business here in Vienna, which is necessary for my major.”
Q. How many students are on the trip?
“There are 22 students in total from OC, Lipscomb and Rochester. This semester there are only four from OC.”
Q. What has been your favorite place you have traveled so far?
“I have gotten to see so much that it is very difficult to pick a favorite. Greece was definitely high up on the list, but Holland was my favorite, I think. The country is beautiful, and there is so much to see and do.”
Q. What have you learned during your time abroad?
“I have learned so much on this trip. I learned a little about what it will be like after I graduate. We live in apartments, cook for ourselves and have to learn how to get along with people we see every single day. To be completely honest, I feel much more prepared for life in general than I did three months ago. I am more confident, and I have learned how to be on my own. I have also learned a little Deutsch, but das ist immer noch nicht super.”
Q. What have been some of your favorite memories?
“There have been so many great times during this semester. I spent one day in Holland at the tulip fields with some friends, and we spent the whole time laughing and taking funny photos of each other. Another time, two friends and I spent the day in Disney Paris, and I actually enjoyed a rollercoaster for the first time in my life. In Greece, eight of us all crowded onto a couch to have some great movie nights. We met and were helped by locals in nearly every country we visited. There are so many more, but I would go on for days.”
Q. What has been the most difficult part of studying abroad this semester?
“I would say one of the most difficult things about studying abroad now is being away from your friends and family back home. The environment is very different here, and it can be very hard at first to adjust, especially without knowing many other people. Free travel, while fun, can be challenging to plan. It is worth the effort, though; it just takes some determination and time management. Depending on how many classes you take, the workload can be difficult, but again, time management is key. If you really want to get stuff done, you can always find the time.”
Q. Why would you encourage Oklahoma Christian students to consider study abroad?
“Studying abroad is a great opportunity and most of the time, it is a once-in-a-lifetime chance that I hope others will enjoy as much as I have. Every experience will have its ups and downs, but the positives definitely outweigh the negatives. You will meet some great people from other schools; you will learn so much about other cultures, and it will better prepare you for the future. Amazing memories will be made every day, and most importantly, it will change you for the better. I highly, highly recommend studying abroad.”