by Joe Lynn
Just a few days ago, a group of about 30 Freed-Hardeman students and faculty returned from a three-month long trip that was spent studying and traveling throughout Europe. At first they’ll be glad to be back in the land of free refills, the English language, and their families, but soon it will hit them that they just had the experience of a lifetime and will likely spend the next several years of their lives hoping to go back. It is truly a once in a lifetime experience that is available to students at FHU, and I took full advantage of that opportunity during my sophomore year. The time I spent there was absolutely incredible and made its way into my list of favorite things about FHU.
Students who choose to participate in the FHU study abroad program have the choice to travel in either the fall or spring semesters. FHU owns a building in the small city of Verviers, Belgium centrally located in the middle of Europe. Just a few hours from Paris, London, Germany, and Switzerland by train, Belgium is a great location to base the program from. Students spend approximately six weeks studying ‘Europe-relevant’ courses such as European literature, World History, French language, and the life and times of the apostle Paul. Peppered into those six weeks are day trips around Belgium, to western Germany, and many other locations.
Students also travel as a giant group, led by the professors and the FHU study abroad directors, for week long trips to places like Paris, Southern Germany, Austria, Greece, and several other locations depending on which semester you choose. These trips are so educational including guided tours through museums, castles and ancient landmarks, not to mention that they are an absolute blast as well.
One of the coolest parts of the program is the freedom that is given to the students while there. Outside of that students are given three separate weeks in order to plan their own ‘free travel’. During those trips, students have the opportunity to branch out and explore some foreign cities. You have the chance to try new foods, meet interesting people and sight see. Whether it’s trekking to the top of the Eiffel Tower, enjoying a Belgian waffle (In Belgium!) or grabbing your hotel linens and hitting the streets of downtown Athens in a makeshift toga (which I did), there are limitless opportunities for fun, learning and exploration.
Participating in the FHU study abroad program can be life changing. It gives students the chance to visit places that they may otherwise never experience outside of pictures or a movie. It gives them valuable lessons in travel, navigation, and planning. It also provides them with a broader worldview and the ability to see some things in a new light. I could literally write 5,000 words on this topic including more thoughts, experiences and stories but I doubt that anyone would actually care to spend that much time so take it from me; The FHU study abroad program is incredible and you should absolutely look in to it.
To find out more, check out FHU student blogs from this fall’s group here http://www.fhu.edu/blogs/fhuabroad/