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Here’s a Better Semester Abroad Trip

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I remember as a college student, one of my best semesters at Wheaton College wasn’t at Wheaton College. It was a semester abroad. I was 19 and full of curiosity. When my semester abroad finished, I had a free month and a Eurail pass. I decided to see as much of Europe as I could. Which meant …
By sethbarnes

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I remember as a college student, one of my best semesters at Wheaton College wasn’t at Wheaton College. It was a semester abroad. I was 19 and full of curiosity. When my semester abroad finished, I had a free month and a Eurail pass. I decided to see as much of Europe as I could. Which meant not wasting time in hotels when I could be traveling somewhere! Here was my route:

  • Rome, Florence, Venice, & Verona, Italy
  • Innsbrook, Salzburg,  & Vienna Austria
  • Zurich, Zermatt, & Bern, Switzerland
  • Monaco
  • Barcelona, Madrid, Segovia, Gijon, & San Sebastian, Spain
  • Nice, Bordeaux, Paris, & Reims France
  • Frankfurt & Hamburg Germany
  • Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Stockholm, Sweden
  • Bergen, Flam & Oslo, Norway
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands

Each day a new destination! Crazy? Yes. But did I learn about Europe while living on a shoestring? Absolutely! I saw and experienced so much. The cultures, the colors, the smells – so many experiences! I realized how much travel can teach you. I met students like myself from many different countries. We had fascinating conversations with strangers every day.

And I discovered that travel is not just for sightseeing, it is also one of the best ways to learn about life.  It freed me up to take a job in Indonesia after graduating. And more recently, when I was praying about what the World Race should look like, my semester abroad was foundational.

This past year, when we sensed the Lord leading us to pioneer a new World Race study abroad program, I thought a lot about how God has grown me over the course of my life as I’ve been exposed to other cultures and worldviews. I learned to talk about my faith talking to Muslims in Florence. I learned about resilience when sleeping on the sidewalks of Nice.

In contrast, too many young people today have been over-protected. Their parents read the headlines and then they worry. The irony is that we live in a day and age that is safer than ever! We are living longer and have more opportunity. The world can be our oyster. God has called us to “go into all the world.” Jesus challenged his followers to “make disciples of all nations.”

What young people need is not more safety precautions, but to experience the privilege of challenge. They need the opportunity to explore where their curiosity and faith lead them. They need to be trusted with the possibility of failure and the pain it can bring.

Next month we launch our pilot program in Italy with a class of 19 students and leaders. And next fall we’ll follow up with opportunities again in Italy and in Guatemala.

Our team will partner with local believers to engage in a combination of ministry and academic course work. We have a fantastic slate of mentors from America and Italy who teach college courses on leadership and storytelling. And when you’re done, you can transfer credit hours to the college of your choice.

We’ll begin at a rural training camp north of Rome. The team will learn about the rich cultural, spiritual, and historical context of Ancient Rome. Next we’ll travel to Follonica and Catania  to partner with evangelical Italian churches on fire for Christ.

We believe this program is part of God’s work of reclaiming the sphere of academics. It combines college courses with missions and Christ-centered discipleship focused on Christian leadership. Because we partner with local churches and volunteers, it’s actually less expensive than a typical college semester while focusing on missions as well.

Interested? Check it out here!

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