As a Communications major, I have always been encouraged to study abroad. Professors insisted that such an experience would be a great resume booster. Being the homebody that I am, I never pictured myself living in a different country nonetheless adapting to a completely different culture. Yet God had a different plan!
During the course of my sophomore year, God truly groomed and matured my heart. I became more accepting of others and myself and took bigger risks that required immense amounts of faith. I felt as though God was preparing me for a season that I had never experienced before, a season that would require great personal independence as well as total dependence on Him. Little did I know, that I would be experiencing this season in a different country.
“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” – Bill Bryson
As I ponder this quote, my mind traces back to the program interview I had with Mark and Deb Reuber, the directors of GCC’s ESC. Three nights before my interview, I was rapidly scrolling through my Outlook when I came across an email reading, “GCC’s European Study Center Offers Students a Semester Abroad in France.” Feeling a little adventurous, I read the brochure and filled out the application. To my surprise my application passed the first round of acceptance and I was requested to interview.
During my interview I was asked a series of questions ranging from my academic success to recreation as well as past travel experience. As the interview concluded, Deb and Mark asked me on a scale from one to 10 (with 10 being the greatest) how badly did I want to be accepted into GCC’s ESC program. Nonchalantly, I responded with a six. At this point, my parents had no idea what I was getting myself into nor did I know if this was God’s plan for me. I left the interview feeling confident yet incomplete. I remember telling God that if I was accepted into the study abroad program, then I would go because I knew this was the plan He had intended for me.
Little time had passed before I received the acceptance email I had been anticipating. For one of the very first times, I experienced God taking complete authority and control out of my hands, while I surrendered total faith and dependence to Him.
Through my experience with a different culture with new friends, language and traditions, I constantly saw more of God than I had ever seen before. I’m continually reminded of how blessed I am to have received such an awesome opportunity to experience a country full of divine beauty and history for four months.
To read more about my study abroad experience in France, check out my post about a day in the life of an ESC student.
To learn more about Grove City College’s Nantes study abroad program, check out the ESC program’s page.