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B-CU Wildcats Experience a Once in a Lifetime Opportunity Traveling to Africa


John McMullen and Jasmine Parker recently traveled on a 10-day excursion to Johannesburg, South Africa. Both students were delegated to participate in the 2016 International Praise Convention held in Giyana, South Africa. The students, who are members of Daytona Deliverance Church of God, were invited to attend by Bishop William A. Lee. B-CU’s International Study Abroad Coordinator, Mrs. Cheryl Grimes-Long organized the students’ travel as a part of a cultural distance learning initiative that was completely funded by the university.

When asked what was their initial reaction when they landed at the Tambo International Airport, McMullen responded, “I was so surprised because it was a huge airport and everyone looked just like me. The only difference was their accent and that it was quiet. I learned later on that quietness is one of their value systems.”  

The students attended the four-day conference in anticipation to learn more about the African culture, belief system, and to network among other conference attendees from all over the world.  “Everyone was very friendly and the conference worship services were life changing. During service the praise was really authentic and there were so many people wanting for prayer,” they said. “At that point I realized the things I was praying for were so much smaller compared to some of the things other people were going through; it was a humbling experience,” McMullen said.  

Upon their return, the students journaled their experiences and one thing that they reflected on was the African history. “We learned so much about the history of Africa that we don’t learn or even hear about in America; they dealt with racism and enslavement also,” stated McMullen. “I wish there was a way for more African-Americans to learn about this African history.”

During the trip the students visited Robben Island where former South African President Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, Flat Top Mountain and the Apartheid Museum. One tip they would give students interested in studying abroad is to do research on the country, learn their cultural beliefs and foreign etiquette. Both students are expected to graduate from B-CU this year.

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About Bethune Cookman University:

Founded in 1904 by Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) today sustains her legacy of faith, scholarship and service through its relationship with the United Methodist Church and its commitment to academic excellence and civic engagement.  B-CU offers 38 degrees on its main campus and online college. Located in Daytona Beach, B-CU is one of three private, historically black colleges in the state of Florida. The institution boasts a diverse and international faculty and student body of nearly 4,000.  For more information, visit

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