USAO Student Studies Abroad as Henry Scholar
USAO English major Andrea Jones would have been to class in the spring, but the 4,500-mile commute to the University of Science and Arts campus was just a little too much. The Covington, Ohio native was in Swansea, United Kingdom as a Brad Henry International Scholar.
“I was so excited when they called me. It is one of those things when you apply and know your not going to get it. But this time I hit the lottery," Jones told Vanessa Pierce, a communication major at USAO, who interviewed Jones via Skype while in the U.K.
The Brad Henry International Scholar program was created by the Oklahoma State Regents as a scholarship opportunity for students at universities in Oklahoma to study abroad. Jones spent the spring semester at Swansea (Wales) University and took classes that transferred to USAO and counted toward her degree.
“Studying abroad was always something I wanted to do, but money was the issue. The scholarship was a dream come true. It paid for my tuition, accommodations and transportation.” Jones also received a scholarship from USAO that helped pay for her food expenses and toiletries.
Upon arriving in Wales, Jones met with her flat mates, none of which were from the United States, and settled in where she was one of seven. "The girls were from around the globe. There were four English, one Welsh and one Albanian. I didn’t want to have any American flat mates, I wanted to stay outside my comfort zone." Jones credits USAO for helping her get out of that zone. “USAO has made me more apt to jump into conversations and debates in any setting," Jones said.
While in England, Jones had the opportunity for many adventures -- including her second night abroad. "Some of the American students and I went for a walk around town. We ended up walking the better part of the bay to the next village -- The Mumbles." Jones stayed a few weeks after her classes and traveled to Ireland. She said she had cultural learning opportunities both inside and outside the classroom.
For the first two weeks, Jones took a British Culture and Politics Class. “It was a lot of pop culture history.” Her main classes included Power and Performance and Shakespeare and the Idea of Comedy. Jones said the classes focused on dramatic literature. “The classes over here are different, you learn a lot on your own. Class is not as interactive, we have lectures and ask questions via e-mail or after class." Jones credits her liberal arts education for helping her prepare for the classes.
“I love the liberal arts study at USAO. It teaches you so much about many different things. It really makes you feel confident that you know what you’re talking about. It also helps you in the studies over here, when you’re trying to learn on your own. You already have everything you need from your IDS classes.”
Jones said the biggest difference between USAO and Swansea was the different cultural clubs available. Although she did not participate in any clubs, she did go to yoga, dance and sailing activities.
Jones never got homesick because there was so much to do. “There was always so much to keep me busy.” Although she was busy, it didn’t keep her from missing some of her favorite things from home.
“I like my macaroni and cheese and a good cheeseburger. Their macaroni and cheese is not the same over here. I had my mom send me some Kraft Macaroni and Cheese in a care package."
Jones said she is open to returning to the U.K. for graduate studies. “I can get a 25 percent discount since I studied arts and humanities. I am really thinking of completing an English master's degree here at Swansea."
Jones is expected to graduate from USAO in the fall.