APU Study Away Opportunities: Natasha Zimmerman’s Oxford Experience

One of the most exciting parts about college is experiencing living in a new place. Students at Azusa Pacific University have the opportunity to study away at a variety of different locations for a few weeks (GO Terms) or a full semester. These study away opportunities include options in Ecuador, Ireland, Kenya, Israel, Jordan, Washington D.C., England, and other countries in Europe. Perhaps the most unique opportunity to study away is the Scholarship and Christianity in Oxford (SCIO) semester through the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) GlobalEd programs. During this program, APU students study at the University of Oxford, one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the world.

Natasha Zimmerman ’24, a junior honors humanities and public relations major, studied away at Oxford during the fall 2022 semester. Her experience at Oxford was transformational. “It was so amazing. I studied American history in a different country, which was always a dream of mine,” she said. Zimmerman also studied English literature and took an undergraduate research seminar. While the classes were as rigorous as her APU classes, Zimmerman’s courses at Oxford followed a completely different format. While lectures were offered, they were not required and not the main instruction method. Zimmerman was tasked with reading assigned texts, writing eight page research papers on the reading, and then meeting with her professors to discuss her papers in a one-on-one setting. As one of the world’s top research universities, Zimmerman benefited from learning from Oxford’s talented and renowned faculty. “Oxford’s programs are so different from the way we learn in the U.S., but it broadened my horizons and helped me grow immensely in my writing and research skills.”

Zimmerman’s experience outside of the classroom also made the study away opportunity a once in a lifetime experience. Prior to Oxford, she had never been outside of North America. During her semester away, Zimmerman traveled across England to London, Bath, Winchester, and Cambridge. On weekends, Zimmerman would go on short adventures, including seeing a play at William Shakespeare’s Globe Theater. During a short break in the fall, she traveled with friends from the program to Vienna, Austria. “Traveling with my new friends is something I’ll definitely remember and cherish.”

A big takeaway from Zimmerman’s experience at Oxford is how different England is culturally from the U.S. Aside from learning entirely new terminology, Zimmerman appreciated finding historical sites and buildings seemingly everywhere she went. “I didn’t realize how new everything is back in the U.S. A building back home would be considered ancient if it’s more than 200 years old,” she said. “In Oxford, there’s a tower from the 13th century and a covered market from 1769. So many of the buildings in England are older than our country. I love the huge depth of history.”

Zimmerman said she was excited to return to Azusa, where the sun shines more often and she could see all her APU friends. She is immensely happy that she studied away at Oxford. “I would absolutely recommend Oxford or studying away in general to anyone,” she said. “Traveling to these new places is truly eye-opening.”

To learn more about these study away opportunities, email [email protected] or call (626) 857-2440.