University of Mount Olive Honors Students Travel Abroad

Photographs by Bankole Olatosi and Josiah King
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MOUNT OLIVE – Every year University of Mount Olive Honors Program participants have the opportunity to travel overseas. This year’s selected destination was the European countries of Slovenia and Croatia. Students were accompanied by University of Mount Olive President and Mrs. Philip Kerstetter, Dr. Alan Lamm and Dr. Bankole Olatosi.
“Before this trip, I had never been out of the country or ridden on an airplane,” explained honors student Marah Radford. “The most memorable moment for me was looking out my airplane window and seeing Croatia for the first time—it was absolutely breathtaking and is something I will never forget for the rest of my life.”
Students visited the old town of Dubrovnik the first day of their trip. They viewed the Franciscan Monastery, the Bell Tower Clock, St. Laurence Fortress, the Sponza and Rector’s Palace.  In the afternoon, they traveled along the beautiful coast of the Adriatic Sea to the city of Split.
Recent University of Mount Olive biology graduate Jelena Atkins of Leland, NC was grateful for the opportunity to expand her knowledge of different cultures. “This trip has inspired me to continue to travel overseas and discover the beauty of other countries. I would never have had the chance to visit not one, but three European countries if not for the honors program at University of Mount Olive.”
On the second day students enjoyed a city orientation tour of Split, before driving north along the coast to Trogir, home to artists and scholars from around the world. Then they journeyed inland towards the beautiful Plitvice Lakes National Park, a breathtaking natural wonder, which includes 16 terraced lakes surrounded by thickly wooded mountains and lush vegetation.

“The experience showed me that life is far too short to remain unaware of the beautiful world God has created for us. One’s understanding of world geography is nothing in comparison to actually traveling overseas and experiencing firsthand the beauty of our world,” marveled senior secondary English education major, Aisha Atkinson of Goldsboro, NC.
The group returned to the beautiful Bay of Kvarner and its popular seaside resort, Opatija on the third day. Then they headed north to Postojna, the site of one of the largest caves in Europe, where they toured the subterranean world via train. Crawford Bolton enjoyed the sites, as well as the interactions with other tourists. “As we traveled, we meet many different people from all over the world, which really helped me to see that the world is more diverse than I could ever imagine. It gave me motivation to learn other cultures and languages,” expressed Crawford Bolton, a senior Human Resource Management major from Louisburg, NC.
Their trip concluded with the group traveling to the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana, where they visited the open-air market, City Hall, Robba’s Fountain and the Three Bridges.  After returning to Bled, they went sightseeing at Bled Castle. Then on the long flight home, the group rested and recounted the wonderful sights seen and memories made.
While reflecting on her trip, senior art major Brianka Morgan noted that the United States was still a young nation when compared to European countries. “This trip has been transformational in that I now see as a country we are still growing and developing: in culture, in the arts and in thought. I am reminded that through this stage of our existence, still so young and still growing, we can still make revolutionary decisions about water conservation and nature preservation.”
President and Mrs. Kerstetter thoroughly enjoyed the trip, and the company they kept during it. “Croatia and Slovenia were breathtakingly beautiful and the people were warm and hospitable,” they explained, “But the best part of the trip was not the scenery—it was getting to know our MOC students better and enjoying the camaraderie of traveling with Dr. and Mrs. Lamm and Dr. Olatosi. Our students are wonderful ambassadors for us to the world—we are very proud of them.”
University of Mount Olive is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The College, sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists, has locations in Mount Olive, New Bern, Wilmington, Goldsboro, Research Triangle Park, Washington and Jacksonville.  For more information, visit
Pictured: University of Mount Olive Honors Trip participants are pictured enjoying the peaceful and serene waters at Old City of Dubrovnik Dock