Alumni

Testimonials

This page is dedicated to the men and women alumni of the AMBEX Semester Abroad program. Here students can share their thoughts about this program and the life changing experiences they had while studying abroad in Europe. Please take the time to read a few of these testimonials. Who knows, maybe one day your own reflections may appear on this page. ;)

Josh Brumfield, Corban University (Fall 2011)
joshDeciding to participate in the AMBEX program was a big step for me. Even as I flew to Europe, I wasn’t sure if I had made the right decision. It only took one day in Germany for me to realize that I had made a good choice. My experience with AMBEX was truly the best experience of my life so far, and I returned home a changed person. The unique format of the AMBEX semester challenged me academically, socially, culturally, and spiritually. I was able to travel to nine countries while taking 15 fully accredited units. The program directors promote Christian unity; I left with 18 new friends for life and a new respect for God’s people worldwide. I encourage anyone who is remotely interested in international travel to take the plunge and study abroad with AMBEX. You won’t regret it!

Candice Frank, Corban University (Spring 2011)

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Ambex has in every way changed my life. Through the challenging courses I have reaffirmed my belief that God is calling me to a specific vocation and I have been reaffirmed in how that can still honor God. The German people have been welcoming and wonderful, yet not what I expected. I have slowly fallen in love with the German culture and their adherence to rules and propriety, something you do not see very often in the states. However, and most specifically, the Germans that I came in contact with at the Open Door Church in Regensburg have been some of the kindest people and the most welcoming fellowship that I have ever come in contact with. The German culture has taken me captive. I have always been one to follow the rules and I am never late for anything, I like to say I would rather not go than to show up late, and to find that the German culture values those things as well is wonderful. Not just those two things have endeared me to the culture, the importance of family and the selectivity with friendship, the coziness of cafes and restaurants, the friendliness of the people you meet at those places is just wonderful. The organization of the German culture is also very comforting to me. The German culture also includes their food, which I was worried about liking; however I have truly enjoyed almost everything that I have tried. My favorite is of course the vanilla dumplings; however I really love schnitzel as well. Most importantly I have found classmates who have shown me the love of God in a real and tangible way. Through our prayer nights we have grown with each other and with our Bible study we have grown in Christ. Classes were more challenging, but not overwhelming, and I didn’t expect to have my choice of vocation reaffirmed so often. God has used this experience to give me ten amazing sisters in Christ and a support system that I hope will withstand the test of time and distance. He has reaffirmed my desire to be a teacher by helping me learn more history than I could have hoped for as well as rekindling my passion for learning. God is not done working through this experience in my life and I hope that He uses it in bigger ways than even I anticipate.

Alexis Beattie, Corban University (Spring 2012)

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A poem dedicated to the AMBEX program by Alexis Beattie

How can three months be condensed to a page,

When there’s so much there to say?

The weeks, and days, and hours are packed

But I suppose I can find a way.

A wise man once told me

“Live life to the fullest.”

I am not sure I knew what he meant.

Until, that is, I hopped on a plane

To Germany and made my descent.

The language of Germans is harsh, to be sure,

But their hearts are so open and kind.

I knew nothing of them but Hitler and Jews

Yet soon they would all change my mind.

Germans are people just like you and me,

We have all made great mistakes.

Judging them won’t help us grow from the past

And we need to for all of our sakes.

Church is sadly not very personal

For most Germans are Catholic at heart

They sit there in mass, in a cold stony church

Not seeing Christ there from the start.

A mission field lies here in Germany,

For Catholics need the truth of Christ, too.

Their churches are filled every Sunday,

But with Mary, their saviors make two.

My heart cries out for their souls,

And I see such a need for God here.

But there is so much indifference.

Some Germans would rather drink beer.

With beer and a roll they begin their day,

Well, maybe not at 8 o’clock.

But their culture says it’s not very weird at all

To always have beer well in stock.

Incredible minds have come out of this place

Like Bonhoeffer, Einstein, and Strauss.

Theology, science, and music affected

Yet nearly forgotten because of a louse.

Hitler tainted the country’s good name,

They cannot even be proud,

For all of their past, both good and bad,

Is covered by the Holocaust cloud.

I am not saying it is unimportant.

World War II changed the world to be sure.

Yet we see the infection of sin on the earth

When we just see ourselves as most pure.

Christ came to the world to save,

Not some but all of mankind.

Sitting in church on Easter Sunday,

I realized how much I was blind.

For I forgot to see the world as a whole,

Outside of my own little shell.

I have learned a great deal since I’ve been here.

I hope you will learn much as well.

God brought me here for a reason,

The whole one I might never know.

My life has been changed by these mere three months,

And it wasn’t just ‘cuz of the snow.

I have fallen in love with this country,

The language, the people, the views.

From Munich’s döners and Nürnberg’s brats

And sitting in the great Luther’s pews,

To Neuschwanstein castle up there on the hill

And Dresden’s Il Troubadour play,

And let’s not forget the town I’ve called home,

Where some of my heart will now stay.

I’m afraid my description is useless

For mere words cannot explain,

Like a raindrop journeyed from the sky,

Cannot describe the rain.

You have to be a part of journey,

To describe just what has occurred.

For sometimes even the best words you can use

Will only make it even more blurred.

I hope I did Germany justice.

Unless you come you will never be sure.

Be ready to have your life totally altered.

THAT I will gladly assure.

Hayden Herring, Corban University (Fall 2011)
haydenStudying with AMBEX in Regensburg, Germany, provides an opportunity for learning that can never be found on a traditional college campus. AMBEX provides students a way to interact with the educational material in a very real sense. To be able to leave the classroom after studying art or history, and see the various things you have been learning about in person is an experience like no other. Unlike other universities, AMBEX also provides the opportunity to travel all over Europe and contrast other cultures with German and American styles. Most importantly, AMBEX provides all of its opportunities and experiences with a Biblical Worldview that focuses learning on the ultimate goal of worshiping God.

MK Tengler, The Master's College (Fall 2011)
302058_2530738868161_2087984301_nThe AMBEX Study Abroad program provided me with the best semester of my college career! At AMBEX I was able to see and re-live the history that we were learning about in the classroom, experience different cultures and worldviews first hand, and also develop the most incredible life-long friendships with my classmates. I chose to go to AMBEX not really knowing what I was getting in to; I just knew that I loved Reformation History and would love to see the sites and artifacts from that time period. I was in for a pleasant surprise. AMBEX not only provided those experiences, but it also brought me to a point in my relationship with Jesus Christ that I never would have reached if it were not for the incredible professors, AMBEX staff, and my classmates (my AMBEX family). The AMBEX Study Abroad program provides such a unique learning environment paired with incredible travel and close community with your classmates. If I could, I would relive my semester in Germany all over again. It was, by far, the best semester and the best experience of my life. I recommend AMBEX strongly, in fact, I truly urge you to go! It is truly a life changing experience.
Sara Lacroix, Corban University (Spring 2012)

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There is nothing like studying abroad. All of the memories made and the friendships formed to any other experience. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity that should be embraced fully and lived thoroughly. The past semester has caused unexpected growth, and has presented challenges completely out of the norm. It is something that cannot be fully expressed in words, but its importance will never be forgotten. It is the difference between learning and experiencing. Anyone can sit in a classroom and take notes; it is a completely different thing to be standing in front of the piece of art, or standing in front of the building, or walking in the footsteps of historical people. Being in the rooms where they worked and slept is different than looking at a flat picture of the room. New levels of understanding are reached just by being there. It is also the chance to branch out and meet people beyond the normal comforts of home. People one would not normally talk to suddenly become a best friend or a sister. The bonds formed will never go away. It will always hold a special place in memory; it will always be a safe place to return to. Trust has been built where it was not present before. Lives have been changed for the better, and it all happened by taking a leap of faith and flying across the big pond to the beautiful land of Germany. God, Coach, Kelley, the parents, and all the professors who came and put their hearts into the program have impacted lives and made the experience. It is their hard work that made the program a success. It is to them the eleven young women owe their thanks and gratitude.

Amanda Doty, The Master's College (Spring 2012)

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I could never have dreamed of the implications that a semester at Ambex would have for me. I wasn’t expecting to face certain challenges and adversities, but that seems to be the way the Lord always works. The courses from this semester all blended together in this complementary fashion that has made me examine the way I read books, watch movies, and speak with people. The places I’ve traveled have opened my eyes to mankind in a world outside of my hometown. Above all I’ve seen God work in every country, every class, every girl in this program and I’ve seen God work in me in a way I could have never expected. I didn’t understand the implications German culture and geography would have on me during this semester. I thought that it would be a course where I would learn some facts about a country and then move on to the next subject without applying the information, but nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, reading books can help explain the German life-style, but that is nothing compared to living among the people. I watched the employees at the youth hostel and I spoke with kids from the Bliss youth group and was able to discern for myself how the German people really tick. My classes taught me how to defend “Truth” to a lost world without being judgmental or condescending. They taught me that not every situation is black or white and pushed my boundaries. They taught me to look at the world through the eyes of others and see religion, books, movies and art through their eyes. One of the most beautiful moments of this 3-month endeavor happened on Easter Sunday. When the Scriptures were read in 4 different languages I was almost moved to tears. God presented this opportunity for me to come to Ambex this semester and I jumped on it for my own personal experience, but He quickly revealed that this semester was not about me. This semester was about Him, and how to explain to others His love and His grace. This semester was about understanding people that live with different customs and who speak different languages, and yet need God the same as I do. God sees and is concerned with the heart and that is why this semester was important.

Jasmine Benson, The Master's College (Spring 2012)

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This semester and the European History, Geography & Culture course has allowed me to grow in my spiritual walk with Christ because I have been pushed past my comfort zones. Traveling for three months time without my parents or the comforts of my own home, friends, and places allowed me to dive into God’s Word with a different view. I wanted to grow in the gospel to further my discipleship in other countries. God called us to make disciples of all the nations and being able to learn the culture and religious aspects of Germany helped me understand the people and culture better. I learned that God is a big God who really can handle everything at every time, anywhere. I used to not think that much outside America, let alone California so I realized I only was thankful for or prayed for the things and places I knew but God is everywhere and everyone needs to hear His Word which is partially why I was sent here. I thought I would not have a lot of time to connect with Germans or let alone tell them about God but He has definitely provided opportunities. I truly believe it was God’s divine appointment for me to be here and He has worked not only in my life but in the lives of the other girls who are studying here too. This semester was important because I got to learn so much from different professors all over America from Reformation to Art History, and Christian Worldview to the Third Reich. The Master’s College does a great job in every class that is offered but this experience allowed me to take a hands-on approach which is how I like to learn. These last three months have permanently left an imprint on my heart and I can say that I actually do feel German. The people I have met have changed my life, the classes have challenged me in ways I never imagined and the relationships I have formed will be difficult to break because my friends here are the only ones who will understand how this experience has grown me and changed me for the better. Studying abroad can be a tough decision but the opportunity is one that can never be taken back. Germany has become a huge part of my life and I can’t imagine my life without it now.

Aaron Thomasson, Columbia International University (Fall 2010)

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Aaron: Fresh bretzel, bratwurst mit sauerkraut, schnitzel, Regensburg, Bayern, Deutsche Bahn, cobble stone, old cities, Christkindlesmarkt, and Ambex friends are a few things I miss about Deutschland. My name is Aaron Thomasson, I am currently a student of the Humanities/Philosophy and Biblical Studies programs at Columbia International University. As a student of the humanities, I have an immense interest in the culture, history and academic movements of Europe. More specifically, I have the desire to familiarize myself with the German people. The Ambex Christian Exchange program was an answer to prayer. While studying in Regensburg, I was challenged in a way that is exclusive to the Ambex program. I experienced personal growth through my studies, my relationships with fellow students and the surrounding culture; while having the opportunity to broaden my perspective on politics, culture, faith, and international affairs. I am certain that my experiences from the Ambex program will continue to influence my life and future ministry decisions. Because of its faculty, curriculum, and study tours, Ambex was beyond suitable for my needs.  I am very grateful for the directors, professors and other persons who have assisted the growth and success of the program through their many sacrifices. I recommend that students, with an interest in a European study abroad, should consider the American Bavarian Exchange Program.

Karen Harriger, The Master's College (Spring 2013)

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On January 18, 2013 at 6:25 AM, my flight took off from Fresno-Yosemite International Airport bound for Munich, Germany. Like my journey toward reaching AMBEX, I had a few layovers along the way, yet ultimately I made it. During my three months in Germany, I had the chance to travel all over that beautiful country. I looked over Bavaria from the windows of Neuschwanstein castle and stared in awe at the Brandenburg gate in Berlin. I walked the streets of Wittenburg and peeked inside Luther’s study at Wartburg Castle. Our adventures extended past Germany into Austria; in Salzburg I skipped along with my fellow “AMBEXers” through the city of Salzburg to sites where “The Sound of Music” was filmed. We journeyed into Italy, where I got lost wandering Venice and climbed to the top of Brunelleschi’s dome in Florence. Besides traveling for class, I also had the chance to do some independent travel. With some of my classmates, I traveled across the beautiful country of Spain; in another week I toured the amazing cities of London and Dublin. For my final travel week, I marveled at the cultured elegance of Vienna. It was three months jam packed with seven European countries, thousands of miles, and an infinite amount of moments I will never forget. Ninety days later my plane landed back in Fresno, late the night of April 18th. Although Fresno hadn’t changed much since January, I had. I grew intellectually and spiritually during those three months in ways I’m still discovering, even today, and will continue to discover in the years to come. I cannot begin to express my thanks for your charity. Your kindness made my final semester of college so much more meaningful to me, as well as a time I will always cherish. Intellectually, my knowledge of Europe, its people, and its culture grew as I had the chance to see and experience it firsthand. I made friendships that will last a lifetime and was stretched spiritually in ways that encouraged me to lean all the more on my Savior. My semester spent in Germany was one of the hardest of my college career, but one of the most worthwhile. Places I had read and studied in my classes came to life, and the realities of our world today grew so much more real to me in ways that would have been impossible in the United States. As someone who hopes to work overseas at a US embassy or consulate someday, I treated this experience as a “test” to see whether or not I would even want to live for extended periods of time in a foreign country. My time at AMBEX encouraged me to pursue this path all the more, and I am excitedly pursuing this goal. Thank you for helping me attend AMBEX this past spring. Your investment in my life was a tremendous blessing, and one I know the Lord will use in mighty ways toward furthering His kingdom. Thank you so much, and may the Lord bless you always. In Christ and with a Thankful Heart,