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Summer Vienna offers alternative to semester program

Friday, September 7, 2007  
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By Kimberlee Rhodes

This past summer, a group of Oklahoma Christian University and Cascade College students from Portland, Oregon took part in the 7th annual Summer Vienna study abroad trip. Cascade’s Dean of Academics, Shawn Jones, and his wife, Nancy, were the sponsors of the trip.

“It’s one of the best experiences ever,” sophomore, Kayla Saffell, said. “It really forces you to get out of your comfort zone.”

The summer Vienna program began in 2000 to give students an opportunity to get six to nine hours of university credit while gaining a new cultural perspective. The group’s first destination was London. After five days, they traveled to the 18th century castle, Schloss Neuwaldegg, in western Vienna where they stayed for the next four weeks. Schloss Neuwaldegg is also used to house the fall Vienna students. The students left May 16 and returned in late June after exploring destinations including Berlin, Rome, Florence, Venice, and Vatican City.

“I would definitely suggest Summer Vienna,” Saffell said. “Being in a foreign country with them, (the group) as pretty much the only English-speaking people you have contact with really brings you closer together.”

Senior, Michael Wright, appreciated several aspects of the trip.

“I really enjoyed taking Trans,” Wright said. “It’s an easy form of transportation and the weirdest sleep you’ll ever get! Switzerland was also very nice, and Interlaken was beautiful.”
Each student had the opportunity for free travel, a 10-day event that allowed several students to go to a country of their choice.  Junior, Katie Murdock, was lucky to be in a group with a travel plan that agreed with the time schedule.

“We went to Berlin, Frankfurt, and Prague. In Frankfurt, we spent some time around the Rhine River where it’s surrounded by medieval castles and tiny towns,” Murdock said. “Berlin had a lot of history and it was interesting to see where the Berlin Wall had been.”

One of the benefits of the summer program is that participants do not have to miss out on events throughout the fall semester and still get to travel.

“The summer program is also good for people who get homesick and may have a hard time adapting to the culture shock,” Murdock said. “It gives you a new outlook on the world and makes you realize that we have so many similarities no matter what our background is.”

For more information about the summer Vienna program, visit the Oklahoma Christian public website and search “summer Vienna 2008.” The deadline for 2008 applications is October 12, 2007. 

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