Aidan spent time sightseeing in Ireland (pictured above) and London during his semester abroad.
Photos courtesy of Aidan Moon
by Aidan Moon
Returning to Concordia at the beginning of a new semester usually leads to many of the same questions. “How was your break?” may be the most common, but for me, after a four month break from Concordia, the question was this: “How was England?”
I spent the last four months studying in Cambridge, England, at a place called Westfield House. It is the official educational institution of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of England, which is affiliated with the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS) and the Concordia system. Despite this, very few of our Seward students have made the hop over the pond to study with them! While there, I had the opportunity to study with some brilliant professors, experience different cultures and best of all, travel to places I had only dreamed of visiting before. There were three main ways this experience was beneficial to me:
While at Westfield House, I spent time digging in to subjects such as the Early Church, Philosophy, Art and more. Their class sizes made Concordia’s look large, and their excellent library and great tutors gave the resources for deep and focused learning. And not only for theology students! They had programs for all areas of the Liberal Arts, many of which take at least part of their courses through Cambridge University itself. And who doesn’t want to say they’ve had the opportunity to take classes at Cambridge University?
A chance to leave the Midwest, or the United States itself, is something everyone should take advantage of in their lives. In my time, I was able to begin to understand what other cultures look like and what subtle differences can make communication and daily life more difficult. For those of us who spend most of our time living in a place like Seward, the chance to see a snapshot of the world from a different perspective is incredibly valuable.
While I got to grow academically and culturally, the challenges and rewards of living abroad for four months and travelling to many new places was most rewarding because it expanded my own outlook and challenged me as I travelled. From the barren and mountainous terrain of Iceland, to the friendly pubs of Ireland, to the rolling highlands of Scotland, I got to see awesome sites and meet awesome people, challenging myself and growing immensely. I was able to read my Bible in stunning cathedrals, mull over historical events in the places where they actually happened, and gain a fuller picture of where I fit into this great big world we live in. This was an experience I will treasure forever as something that was a part of shaping me into who I am and will become.
Most people see studying abroad as something that won’t fit into their schedule or budget, but with a little effort, I was able to make it work without costing me much more than my normal tuition. While it is intimidating, I highly recommend at least giving it a chance. For more information on my experience, don’t hesitate to shoot me an email at email@example.com, or for more information on studying abroad in general, contact Julie Johnston-Hermann at firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s an experience worth having.