What was your "Aha"
Throughout this semester we have been on a journey. We have traveled across Italy as a group and the students have been to many other parts of Europe. We have seen some of the greatest works of art in the world and discussed ideas that have formed the foundation to much of life as we know it. We have experienced the intricacies of the Italian culture and discovered ways to bridge the boundary between our two world-views.
So it is fitting that our last Greetings from HUF for this semester include excerpts from the student's final writing assignment of the semester. Part of the essay is a reflection on the following question:
What was your "Aha" moment of the semester? When did all of what we have been doing come together and somehow cause something to click in your mind?
"At HUF I’ve been encouraged daily to get out of my comfort zone, adventure and explore wherever I am, do something crazy, befriend someone who probably doesn’t speak the same language as I do—in whatever we do at HUF, we are encouraged to experience it. This has shaped me more than anything. Because of this I have looked at every opportunity I’m given to see all possible positive outcomes. I think that is my greatest souvenir. Because although I am free to do or not do what I want, if I’m not living my life, than it will have all been a waste."
"I learned things I was not expecting to learn, and I appreciated the world and the people around me. There is beauty in nature and people and there are lessons in everything around us. I learned through experiences and actually going to the places we were studying about. I also learned many valuable life lessons such as how to deal with difficult situations and how to compromise. I have seen the true meaning of how to love with the love of the Lord, and I have seen God’s work worldwide. I have gained knowledge about other cultures, and I have found a deeper appreciation for my own country. I have seen the world in a new light, and I see the world as a much smaller place."
"By seeing the works and hearing the stories of Michelangelo, he taught me three things. He taught me that it was okay to make mistakes, he taught me that I should have pride in everything that I do, and he taught me that even if I do not enjoy what I am doing that I should still do it with the best of my ability. The things I learned here at HUF will stick with me for the rest of my life and I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to spend a semester in Italy. There is nothing that I would trade for these memories and I will look back on them fondly for years to come."
"Italy is different from the states but the history and the unspoken rules are things I’ve come to love, not be frustrated by. I’ve come to realize that our differences aren’t bad but rather a way to learn and grow. The culture of Florence has helped me to see that my way isn’t the only way and maybe it’s not always the best way. Throughout my time here I have realized that I have so much in this world to see and learn, meaning I should never stop seeking to know more about other cultures and learn from people who come from a different place than me. I have realized that being confined to one place and one group of people does nothing to help you and that life is much more exciting and joy filled when you can see things from a different perspective. It is a much more joyful life when I choose to see goodness in our differences and to share moments of joy when I learn more about God’s most unique creations. This trip has taught me to truly seek beauty and joy all around me: in nature, in architecture, and in people."
The students have now left the villa and it seems like only last week they had just arrived. These 15 students have now entered the roll of HUF alumni who can share their story and experience with others.
Another semester has come and gone but that does not diminish the significant life changes and world-view shifts that have taken place in the past three months.
From everyone at the Harding University in Florence program, we hope and pray that somehow the students have been affected by this experience. Because through them we hope that they can help make this world a better place.