For Bailey Weghorst, a senior youth ministry major at Mount Vernon Nazarene University, attending Nazarene Theological College in Manchester, United Kingdom, for a semester was her first time out of the U.S. She was on track to graduate early and attending NTC-Manchester helped her meet that goal.
NTC-Manchester’s study abroad program offers unique, short-term, cross-cultural experiences for university students seeking to engage in learning in the United Kingdom.
It is made up of three different opportunities: year-abroad, semester-abroad, and summer-abroad. Students who participate in this programme will engage various classroom and experiential learning opportunities unique to the host institution and location.
One of the learning opportunities is the chance to serve with local churches and community organizations.
Being in Manchester gave Weghorst the opportunity to experience serving in ways that are missional and holistic. She volunteered at a nonprofit that assists underprivileged children who come from stressful home situations.
“I think this culture embraces missional ministry better than the U.S. does,” she said.
Weghorst added that the NTC-Manchester student body, faculty, and staff made it easier to adjust to life in a new culture.
“It feels like home now," she said. "The [lecturers ] have been great and understanding. There’s a definite community that’s intentional about spiritual support. I’ve already been telling people back home that they should pray about it, and if they can, to come here.”
Joëlla Verrijp, a senior at Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen in the Netherlands, spent the fall semester in 2014 as a study abroad student at NTC-Manchester to study theology as part of her bachelor’s degree in sociology.
“I really enjoyed some of the courses," she said. "They really helped me to expand my worldview and also to help me learn what my passion is and what I want to do after my bachelor's degree.”
Spending a semester in a smaller learning community was also a nice change from being at a large university.
“The community is small, so it’s personal," Verrijp said. "So when someone’s walking around on campus, you really know everyone. I think there’s a lot of space for extra things like celebrating with each other. I really liked the coffee time; it feels like you’re in a living room just small talking with all kinds of people.”
Upon completion of the programme, students such as Verrjip find it enhances the way in which future topics and experiences are approached and processed. Exposure to international travel, culture, and learning is increasingly welcomed (and in some cases, required) as a part of the university undergraduate educational experience. The various options at NTC-Manchester offer this exposure in a safe, intellectually stimulating, confessional, and holistic environment.
Katie Dexter, a graduate of Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, California, studied for a year at NTC-Manchester.
“Most of the study abroad programmes that PLNU has are focused on a general education scheme," she said. " It was NTC that offered the classes I needed for my major in Christian ministry/youth ministries. I have been challenged both in and outside the classroom through hearing different perspectives, both from students and professors. Hearing different perspectives or theological views has encouraged me to really think about why I believe what I believe. NTC will encourage you on your faith journey and help you to discover or develop your passions and callings in vocational ministry.”
With course units in theology, youth work, culture, history, art, and English literature, NTC-Manchester offers a range of study abroad options. No matter what degree of choice, studying abroad will enhance a student’s university experience and broaden perspectives on the world.
“I studied abroad during my undergraduate years and it changed my life," said Joseph Wood, NTC-Manchester's study abroad coordinator. "Whether you are looking to experience life in the U.K. for a short-term summer session or you are looking to take the plunge and study abroad for a semester or full academic year, NTC is ready to give you the experience of a lifetime.”
NTC-Manchester is still taking last minute applications for the three-week summer abroad program 2015.