This fall, Harding students who are studying abroad will soon experience Thanksgiving in a new environment, according to students currently part of the HUE, HUG and HUA programs.
Each semester, Harding provides students the opportunity to choose from seven international campuses through the Office of International Programs. These study abroad programs offer 16 hours of Harding tuition, interaction with local churches and independent travel in a number of countries, according to Harding’s website. While studying overseas, certain groups can decide whether to travel back to the U.S. or continue to travel independently during the holiday season.
Paden Shelburne, a sophomore from Lubbock, Texas, is a student at Harding University England (HUE). Shelburne said she is enjoying all of the new experiences while studying abroad, but is feeling homesick due to the long distance between family and friends.
“This experience has been a much needed change in perspective for me. I have learned so much about God, myself and other people,” Shelburne said. “It’s been exciting, busy, exhausting, difficult, fun and enriching but being away from family is hard for me during the holidays even if I’m in the country, so being here is pretty tough.”
For Thanksgiving, Shelburne said she is apart of a separate small group in HUE that will be visiting Harding University Florence (HUF) along with Lipscomb students in Florence.
“There is a HUE group traveling together, but I am in a separate group that just happens to be there on Thanksgiving,” Shelburne said. “This is completely exciting because I haven’t been around over 20 Harding people in so long.”
Drew Ray, a junior from Crossett, Arkansas, currently attending Harding University Australasia (HUA), said he misses his family but is thrilled to be traveling to other countries, such as Thailand and Myanmar.
“The experience has been amazing … New Zealand and Australia are gorgeous,” Ray said. “Thailand is called the land of smiles, and they aren’t kidding. It’s the only place I have ever seen that has as much hospitality as the South.”
Ray said their plan during Thanksgiving this year is to go to the U.S. embassy in New Delhi, India, and have a dinner that evening. Ray also said he experienced culture shock while in Thailand.
“Thailand is covered in religious symbols and shrines to gods, and it’s incredible (to see) the amount of dedication people have to their religions here. They are so much more dedicated than we are as Christians.”
Rachel Herrington is a sophomore from Fort Collins, Colorado, and is studying at Harding University Greece (HUG). Herrington said her group of 6 students will celebrate their “Last Supper” together on the day before Thanksgiving in Porto Rafti, Greece.
“It will be a Passover meal all together, and I’m very excited for it,” Herrington said. “It will be very special to experience the same meal Jesus experienced in his lifetime. Part of me will always stay in Greece.”
All students who are studying overseas will be back in the U.S. before Christmas break.