By Alana Duffle
Many students choose to participate in an international studies program, but rarely does a teacher participate in one. This is not the case for the Chair of the Department of Music John Fletcher.
Fletcher will be participating in a China Internship this summer in conjunction with the University of Southern China. This internship is very similar to a study abroad program.
Fletcher will serve as the faculty mentor for the China Internship. He and four Oklahoma Christian University students will be traveling to the city of Hengyang, in the Hunan Province in May. They will remain in China for four weeks.
Fletcher will be lecturing the faculty and students of the English Language department on music and possibly western culture, while the students will be tutoring and teaching fellow students in the department.
"John Osborne, in the International Office, is in contact with many people at universities around the world—it was through his connections that the opportunity became available," Fletcher said. "He mentioned the chance to participate in an exchange with the teaching program at the University of Southern China."
After discussing the idea with his wife, Fletcher decided to participate.
This is the first year that Oklahoma Christian will be participating in the China Internship.
The administration and faculty at the University of Southern China wanted one of the Oklahoma Christian professors to lecture in the English program about his/her area of specialty.
The process of choosing the potential professors to participate in this internship was very short for the Director of International Programs, John Osborne. Fletcher immediately came to mind as a good candidate.
"He [Fletcher] is an outstanding faculty member here at the university, and he is a great representative of the university," Osborne said. "He has lots of travel experience. His experience is very valuable, since this is our first year to participate in the Internship."
Although the exact details of the internship are yet to be discovered, Fletcher is avidly awaiting the trip.
"I'm looking into possibilities of interacting with musical organizations in that part of China. I'm hoping I might get a chance to interact with music students in colleges or high schools," Fletcher said. "There could be mission results that come out of this exchange, but for me it's a professional development, intercultural opportunity."
Fletcher has taught at Oklahoma Christian for 21 years, three of which were served at Cascade College. Throughout those two decades, he has been involved in many international activities.
"I've been fortunate to participate in several of the international study programs over the years and other international opportunities, like campaigns," Fletcher said. "In 1990, I assisted with using music as part of a mission program in Yugoslavia, Germany and Austria. As part of the international studies, we have sponsored the Vienna trip three times and the Pac Rim trip once."
Fletcher said some of the greatest opportunities Oklahoma Christian offers students are the international opportunities. Not only do students make lifelong friends while on the trip, but they also gain valuable experience often neglected at other universities. He said the faculty, administration and staff help promote this aspect of university life very well.
People often grow tired of traveling, but this is not the case for Fletcher.
"Traveling is one of my great passions, so the opportunity to visit China again is very appealing," Fletcher said. "I have never visited this part of China before, and I'm always excited to get to travel to someplace that I have not been before—so I'm thrilled to have the opportunity."
Fletcher said he wishes to broaden his musical and cultural horizons by experiencing the Chinese culture. He hopes it will help him to become more, well-rounded in his discipline, and as a person.
As the internship quickly approaches, Osborne and Fletcher are all smiles. They are eager to start a new tradition at Oklahoma Christian.
"WE ARE EXTREMELY EXCITED TO OFFER THIS PROGRAM FOR THE FIRST YEAR," OSBORNE SAID.