TMC's Fuller experiences study abroad in Israel and Germany
Posted on: March 03
By Rachel Lawson
There are brochures in the offices and posters on the windows and in the library. One poster shows Master’s College students by the Elah Brook where David killed Goliath, but the other is in front of the church where Martin Luther nailed his thesis. Maybe a flight to Israel AND Germany seems practical, but probably not.
Lydia Fuller is a senior history major and had the opportunity to not only experience the AMBEX program (a semester in Germany) during her four years at Master’s, but the Israel Bible Extension program (IBEX) as well. She is one of only two people who have completed both study abroad programs and the number one question she receives from classmates is which program they should do.
With only four years or less at Master’s, it can be hard for students to fit a semester abroad in, much less two. Fuller was the exception, and since experiencing both is able to offer unique insight to fellow students.
AMBEX is located in Regensburg, Germany and was the first program she went through in fall 2012.
“I have always wanted to study abroad in Europe and so when I came to Master’s and learned about their AMBEX program I immediately knew I wanted to go,” Fuller says. “I also realized that a lot of the classes are taught from a historical perspective which works well with my major.”
As far as classes are concerned, students who attend AMBEX take a total of five classes throughout the semester, which include a German cultural class, English Literature, Christian Worldview, Reformation History, and Art. Each class is taken for two weeks with a week-long travel study break in-between.
On a typical day Fuller was in class from 8 a.m. to noon, would have lunch and then study till about 3 p.m.
“My favorite part of the day was always when I left the hostel and explored Regensburg in the afternoon and evening,” she says. “I did a lot of walking around and sitting in coffee shops and cafes. Sometimes rather than exploring the group would stay on campus and play board games or watch movies.”
Fuller says that as the semester went on her group became closer. The staff do their best to make travelers feel comfortable and at home too. The chef, Tony, often cooked them American meals when asked.
Even though Fuller appreciated the familiar meals, her favorite part of the semester in Germany was being immersed in the culture.
“It was fun to get to know the Germans that stayed in the hostel with us and I felt like I almost became a part of the German culture. I felt very at home in Germany,” she says.
If she could go back and change anything about her semester in AMBEX she would take a friend with her.
“It was really hard at the end of the semester to be the only Master’s student, and in all probability I won’t see them again. It would have been nice to have someone else I knew going into it,” Fuller says.
Because the AMBEX program is not offered directly through TMC, there are generally few Master’s students who participate in comparison to the IBEX program, which sends around 30 students to the college’s Jerusalem campus every semester.
“The day I got back from AMBEX my dad asked me, ‘So when are you going to apply to IBEX?’ My dad didn’t want me to graduate without going through the IBEX program,” Fuller says. “When I came into Master’s I had no intention of doing both, but then I realized that because I’m a history major and most of the classes in AMBEX and IBEX meet my requirements, I decided to go for it.”
Fuller says classes at IBEX are demanding. In Israel students take four classes for the semester and the day is similar to one at Master’s. If a student is not in class from 8 a.m. to the late afternoon then he/she is probably doing homework.
“In IBEX the classes are more set up in a classroom setting, and on a typical day I would do homework or just hang out on the Moshav between classes,” Fuller says. “The coursework was definitely a lot more. I didn’t have as much free time to explore like I was able to explore Regensburg. There was more freedom in Regensburg.”
Along with a feeling of independence, Fuller noted that the living situations are comparably different. In IBEX students live together on the Moshav (similar to a hotel) and are separated from people outside of the program. She appreciated the comfortable hostel in Regensberg and how she lived next door to people from all over the world who were traveling through the area.
Fuller’s favorite part about IBEX was how the Bible came alive to her.
“I just really loved that. I also loved both my groups, but the IBEX group holds a special place in my heart because I’ve been able to see them here on campus and as a whole we became close,” she says “This is something I didn’t have in AMBEX.”
After traversing the world to Germany and Israel, Fuller says that if she could do one over again it would be AMBEX.
“It all depends on the person. AMBEX fit me more because of my personality and interests. I have been interested in Europe for a long time and I love fashion and the general culture of Germany. There is more opportunity to dress up in AMBEX compared to Israel where it is more laid-back and casual,’ she says.
According to Fuller, IBEX can offer a rustic adventure where students can learn all about biblical history from an ancient Israel and modern Israel perspective.
AMBEX can offer WW I and II history along with an in-depth study of early church and Reformation history, as well as a helping of German culture and a taste of several other European cultures.
“Both are amazing and I am so thankful that I’ve been able to do both,” she says.
Rachel Lawson is a TMC communication major.