Living, Learning, and Worshipping in the ‘Uttermost Bounds’
At Oral Roberts University, “To the Uttermost Bounds of the Earth” is more than just a catchphrase; it’s a goal, a vision, and a plan for our students. This year, thirteen students spread out across the globe to spend a semester studying abroad in locations like Paris, Greece, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Israel, Costa Rica, Spain, and England. The ORU Study Abroad program offers a life-changing opportunity to explore a foreign culture and language, gain independence living overseas, develop professional networks, and grow closer to God—all while taking classes for credit toward their whole person education.
Available to all years and majors, studying abroad encourages students to refine their perspective on the world and formulate plans for the future. According to a study done by the University of California, study abroad alumni are twice as likely to be hired compared to non-study abroad alumni, as well as earn 17% more than the average income.
Makenzie Newton, a junior international business and Christian apologetics major currently studying in Bulgaria, transferred to ORU because of the Study Abroad program.
She passionately recalls her decision-making process, and what ultimately led her to Bulgaria: “I was pretty adamant that I didn’t want to go somewhere that was the norm. I wanted to have a different experience—something that wasn’t as Western—so at first I was really planning on going either to Russia, the United Arab Emirates, or I almost went to Prague last year, but I didn’t go to Prague; I went to ORU instead.”
Newton found herself enrolling in the Bulgaria, Greece, and Switzerland program for the fall 2018 semester, learning firsthand about the inner workings of the European Union, the refugee crisis, and the European economic crisis. She hopes to attend graduate school for her master’s degree in public health, and eventually wants to build her career around human rights advocacy with a focus on human trafficking.
Similarly, junior studio art major Natalie Guttman chose Paris, France as her study abroad destination because of its relevancy to her career aspirations.
She explains, “It’s a dream come true … I want to pursue a degree in fashion design, so I’m not only understanding the culture here, but since Paris is the fashion capital of the world, I’m [also] looking at the styles and looking in general at the stores. It’s actually Fashion Week this week, so we may or may not be going, but that’s an opportunity that I can’t pass up.”
In addition to a challenging academic experience, studying abroad also provides a chance for students to grow in their faith and strengthen their relationship with God. Students set aside time each week to get involved in their local church through Bible studies, Spirit-led worship, and church services.