Flip-Flops, Sunscreen, Passports

While most of us spent our summer days lounging on the beach or streaming Netflix episodes, a few students were on mission trips and exploring other countries. Sophomore Cathryn Bigham and Junior Olivia Lolley traveled to Guatemala City with the Avenue Church to teach English to the children there. Guatemala has a divided society, completely lacking a middle class which was one of the things Cathryn said had the biggest impact on her. They spent their time traveling to elementary schools singing songs with them such as the Hokey Pokey and the Mulberry Bush to teach them English. All the while, they were creating inside jokes and relationships with the kids that will forever be with them. Both students were inspired by the “genuine and funny” people, and Olivia was particularly moved by the giant hug she received from a class that “had just learned the word hug.”

Juniors Sloane Smith and Jessica Lenamond both traveled to different areas in Europe. Smith spent two weeks in the UK traveling to various areas such as London, Oxford, and Edinburgh. She also visited Liverpool where she did the Magical Mystery Tour and saw many of the places that inspired the Beatles’ songs. When asked about her favorite part of the trip, she said Scotland and the Lake District because “the scenery was unparalleled,” and she realized from the architecture how young America is compared to England.  Lenamond traveled through England, Scotland, Belgium, and the Netherlands. While in the Netherlands, she went on a three day biking tour through the countryside carrying only her bike and two small bags for all her belongings. She biked through small villages and cities to a different town each night. From her trip, she learned to “take things slowly,” and to speak up when there is something you want to do because “you may never be in that place again.”

Junior Roger Cloud spent three weeks of his summer in Cairo, Egypt. He was there visiting family and enjoying being back in the place he spent many of his childhood summers. While in Egypt, he not only visited the pyramids, but he did so while riding around on a camel. Sight-seeing doesn’t get much better than that in my opinion. When asked what impacted him the most on his trip, he said it was “noticing the difference in lifestyle and culture compared to the U.S.”  From this trip he has a newfound appreciation for all the little things that make Egypt so unique.

Even though not all of us are able to travel to places like these, there are so many other ways you can experience other cultures without leaving the country. Try eating at a Greek restaurant sometime instead of your usual hamburger place, or checking out the different cultural events that sometimes take place in Dallas. Look up different places to try around you, and if you ever have the chance to travel, take it, because there is so much more to see than what is in our own backyards.