“You mean you’re here by yourself? Without anyone else from your school?” – The inevitable question from any study abroad student who has come with a group from his or her school.
“You’re so brave!” (Cue the wide eyes and gentle shake of the head.)
That’s debatable. In truth, coming to England on my own in January was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I felt lost, lonely, and sick—definitely not brave. Thankfully, I had a group of girls who welcomed me. Since I came with the Veritas program, I had a built-in network of students from Palm Beach Atlantic University that I could, at the very least, get in touch with if I needed anything. Initially, I was a bit wary of the fact that they all came from the same school—I felt the potential to be excluded from the group before the semester even began. But it’s not that way at all. Some of the girls didn’t even know each other yet.
Veritas focuses on a convergence of missions and education during the study abroad program, and PBA is a Christian school in Florida; even though these girls aren’t from OBU like me, we’re all like-minded to a certain extent. I gratefully had people to shop with at Asda (the UK’s Walmart), walk around campus with, and begin to decipher the public transportation system with. I especially appreciated the early on movie nights with Nicole, Corina, and Jennifer, when it was still way too hard to be alone in my room.
We all attend excursions together, like that trip to Harrods (above). I’ve loved getting to know this amazing group of ladies. Some of us will even be going to Ireland together! The intimacy of a small Veritas group is important to me, since other than that I’m flying solo (and, by the way, most Europeans have little, if any, idea what Midwestern America is, so, that makes me feel great). Now we’ve scaled back a bit, from the sophistication of Harrods to the grit of the streets:
Every Monday, there’s student church in with Michael and Susan, missionaries here who work with students at Kingston. They have such a heart for students in general, and their kindness always bring out the very best in my PBA friends. It’s a huge blessing to start working with them and try to understand their methods of ministering to the student community. There are some extremely captivating people who I’ve met already at student church, and it fills my heart to meet these kids across the pond with a heart for Christ. We’re all sojourners here in London. I’m still trying to figure out what my role here should be, so if you pray, ask God to help me with that.
- Mind the Gap, 6 Tips for Navigating the London Underground (isastudentblog.wordpress.com)
- City of Wonder: London (isastudentblog.wordpress.com)
- Survival of the British, 5 Things a Month in London Has Taught Me (isastudentblog.wordpress.com)