As I approach my last few days at HUG, I’m overwhelmed by the experiences I’ve had here and how they’ve all happened in the blink of an eye. One minute I was walking into the Artemis (our campus in Greece), and now I am planning my free travel that is in just three short weeks. Three and a half months sounds like a long time before you get on the airplane, but once you board, you’re in for a wild ride.
Everyone told me that my semester abroad would make me question everything about myself, my life and my faith. They told me it would dramatically change my worldview and open my eyes to new experiences. As you can imagine, I came to Greece with big expectations, and I haven’t been disappointed.
I guess I expected that going to places of great significance like the Acropolis, the Garden of Gethsemane, the Mount of Beatitudes, the Blue Mosque and more would change me instantly. I thought that going to places where Jesus and his disciples walked would answer all the questions I had about my faith. I assumed that seeing different cultures would help me discover exactly who I am and who I want to be. I’m not lying when I say that HUG has truly changed me, but it hasn’t happened in the way I expected.
I think the most significant ways I have changed have been through the lessons I’ve learned here. The first lesson I learned (and probably the most obvious) is to be grateful for my home, friends and family. More than anything, I’ve learned that there really is no place like home. Although I’m so thrilled to travel all over the world, there is nothing like being home with my family and church. I’ve seen many beautiful sights on this trip, but nothing will ever be as beautiful as home is to me. I also learned how selfish I am. I’ve seen so many different people on this trip — people so different from me — living their everyday lives. This has shown me that the world does not revolve around me, and it has shown me how small I truly am. My questions about my faith have still not disappeared, but I think God is teaching me to seek him for answers to my questions. He has shown me to not be afraid of the questions I have, but to grow deeper in my faith by searching his word. He has made his presence known to me all over the world and in seemingly “unlikely” places.
Although I never had a moment of realization here, I have been able to see the ways I have grown as I reflect back on my experiences. I’m so grateful for the experiences I’ve had and the countless lessons I have learned. I can’t believe my semester is about to come to a close, and although it was a wild ride, I have no regrets.
Next issue: Junior Charles Stroud from HUF.