Kimberly Pruitt was enrolled in an online General Studies course at another university when she felt God tugging at her to have a look at the LCU course catalog. She was instantly drawn to the Technical Communications degree in the catalog.
“It was exactly what I was looking for,” says Kimberly. “I just didn’t know there was a specific degree name for what I was interested in. It’s funny how God knows what you’re looking for, even when you don’t.”
Kimberly started her Technical Communications degree at LCU in the Spring of 2011. When Kimberly heard there was an opportunity to study abroad in Oxford, she did everything she could to make sure she got to study in the same country that inspired works by C.S. Lewis, Jane Austen, and J.K. Rowling. LCU offers students the opportunity to study in another country, so with help from LCU personnel, Kimberly completed the application process to study in Oxford during the Spring 2013 semester.
“Because of finances, I wasn’t even sure I was going to be able to take advantage of the Study Abroad program,” Kimberly confesses. “However, after multiple conversations with the director of Financial Aid, Amy Hardesty, she was able to find a grant that allowed me to cover that last bit of the program costs, in order to go to Oxford. Her diligence changed my life. There is no way I could have gone without the money she found.”
Kimberly not only gained education through her classes in Oxford, but she picked up many different life lessons she couldn’t have learned in the states. She had to learn how to navigate without a GPS, how to become comfortable with being lost, and how to find the treasures around every corner. Kimberly says her greatest learning experience was simply learning more about herself.
On a typical day in Oxford, Kimberly would stop by her favorite bakery for a croissant in the morning before walking to classes held in an old Quaker Church. One class that students studying abroad are required to take deals with the political, cultural, and current events of the country the student is studying in. After class, Kimberly would walk around Oxford taking photos, visiting museums, and checking out events that were happening that particular day. Kimberly would then stop by the market for groceries or meet up with a friend for fish-n-chips before heading back to her housing unit for homework. On weekends Kimberly had the opportunity to visit other cities or countries.
From the hundreds of photos Kimberly took while in Oxford, she has picked 20 to showcase in a photo gallery during LCU’s Homecoming weekend. She picked photos that represent each country she had the chance to visit while abroad.
“When I’m looking through a lens, my world narrows down to a small area of what’s directly around me,” says Kimberly. “I’m not a professional photographer, I just take photos of things or events that move me personally.”
Her favorite photo is one of a bicycle with a basket full of flowers. The bicycle is signage for the Vaults & Garden Café in the basement of St. Mary’s Church in Oxford, and for Kimberly it symbolizes the quintessential English afternoon of tea and scones.
Kimberly hopes those who visit her photo gallery will take away the numerous possibilities there are in the LCU Study Abroad program. “Study abroad allows you to engage in different cultures and become more tolerant of different ways of life,” Kimberly explains. “Living in another country and experiencing God through other’s eyes showed me how narrow my point-of-view really was.”
As a non-traditional student, Kimberly says her next step is to graduate with a degree in Technical Communications this May and start working again. She says becoming a full time student at LCU has been well worth the sacrifice of her previous full-time salary, due to her Oxford experience and the faculty and staff at LCU.
“In my opinion, LCU has the best personnel I’ve ever had the pleasure of interacting with, and I can’t stress enough how rewarding Study Abroad is,” says Kimberly. “I encourage everyone to take advantage of the people and programs at LCU.”
Kimberly’s photo gallery, titled Oxford Study Abroad, is up in the University Library Gallery until March. For students interested in the Study Abroad program contact Gail Wilson in the Office of the Provost at 806. 720.7406 or email@example.com.