Campbellsville University students share experiences of studying abroad


Nov. 10, 2010
For Immediate Release

  Sarah Sprague, a former CU student who studied abroad in Italy, views Florence from the  "Michelangleo Lookout." (Photo Submitted)
 Sarah Sprague, a former CU student who studied abroad in Italy, views Florence from the
“Michelangleo Lookout.” (Photo Submitted)

By Christina Miller, office assistant

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky.— John Kilby, a non-traditional sophomore at Campbellsville University, gained a love for travel seven years ago when he began a career in construction. He is one of 31 students from Campbellsville University who have studied abroad over the past year.

“Each of these students studying abroad is potentially a missionary,” Dr. Michael V. Carter, president of Campbellsville University, said at the last Church Relations Council meeting.

Kilby, who has traveled to Europe for the past six years, said he tries to explore new places at least once a year. Having only been to Western Europe, Kilby found out about the opportunity to visit Eastern Europe and receive credit toward his degree. This led him to visit study abroad in Kyiv, Ukraine over the summer for a two-week intensive culture and language program.

Kilby, an international studies minor from Lebanon, Ky., studied the Russian language at the Znatok Academy for Russian and Ukranian Language. “It was a mind blowing experience to learn a totally different alphabet they use, called Cyrillic,” he said.

He traveled to Kyiv in Ukraine where he said it was “for sure a life changing experience to go and visit other cultures and countries. It makes you come home and appreciate the smaller things in life.”

Sarah Sprague, a former CU student originally from Vermont, studied abroad in Florence, Italy during the fall of 2009.

When deciding where to go, she said, “I thought it would be a good experience to actually go to another country and study, not just visit. I knew I was going to Italy but I was stuck between Rome and Florence. Rome was a place everyone knew about. It is a lot more historical than Florence, so I thought that I might get more out of the experience. But I was going to study art, and Florence was just an all around more ‘artsy’ place to me.”

Sprague took mostly art and Italian classes including painting, drawing and Italian. While she was there to study, Sprague said it “most definitely didn’t take up all my time. I was a senior in college in an exciting new country with unlimited possibilities.”

Whitney Smyser, a 2010 graduate of CU from Mt. Juliet, Tenn., also spent her summer in Ukraine. She worked with CU’s TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) training program for one month.

Smyser said, “I’ve wanted to study abroad since I was in high school, but a good opportunity never came up until I learned about CU’s study abroad programs.”

Smyser, who chose to travel to Ukraine to complete her last requirement for TESOL Endorsement, said, “I love to meet new people, learn about new cultures and travel. So studying abroad was a great way for me to experience all those things.”

Smyser taught English to 15 and 16-year-old students for two hours per day.

During her time in Ukraine she lived in Ternopil with the family of a CU student from Ukraine, Nastya. She also traveled to four different cities, including the capitol Kiev and one of the oldest cities in Ukraine, Lviv.

“My experience was an amazing one and one of best experiences of my life! I loved everything about Ukraine, the people, the beauty of the land and the cities, the culture, the food, and the history that is in the place. I would love to visit again and stay even longer then I did before,” Smyser said.

“The only part that was somewhat difficult was that I knew very little Ukrainian and not everyone spoke English.”

Smyser kept a journal during her time in Ukraine. In it she wrote: “Working in foreign country can be one of the most rewarding and valuable life experiences if you let it. One positive aspect of working in a foreign culture is learning to appreciate a new way of life…By learning to adapt to and appreciate a new culture, I believe it will be easier for me to transition through the different stages of life, such as working new jobs, moving around, or making new friends, because I will have learned to be happy and joyful in any circumstance…

“An additional advantage of working in a foreign country would be the opportunity to learn more about yourself as a person and see how you can manage in new surroundings. Because I did not speak the native language, I learned to be quiet, to listen more to others, and to be more reflective.”

Students aren’t the only ones going abroad.

Dr. Bill Budai, assistant professor of piano, taught two music classes in Salzburg, Austria over the summer.

“I was there for four weeks and really enjoyed it! This was my first time to teach abroad; I had always wanted to participate in such a program as a student, but never had the opportunity, so I was very happy to be able to participate as an instructor,” Budai said.

He said teaching abroad wasn’t that different from a typical summer class. “The primary difference was that my classes were taught in a church, so we didn’t have the same resources that exist on a college campus.”

Budai plans to teach abroad again in the future, and hopes to participate in another study abroad program in the summer of 2012

Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with over 3,000 students offering 63 undergraduate programs, 17 master’s degrees and five postgraduate areas. The website for complete information is


Chat with us x