Having just completed my 4th trip abroad with students (my third at Lee) I have some thoughts about this experience. While there are challenges on any trip, I found this trip to be the most successful I have taken. I thought it was a great blend of academic and cultural interchange. After reading the student journals following the trip I was very excited to see all of the experiences that the students had in the moments of free time, the unique perspectives they each brought to the group experiences, and the challenges they experienced both culturally and academically.
I am in the Atlanta airport about 30 minutes from boarding the plane for my first global perspectives trip and my first trip to Europe. We’ll be headed to Vienna, Prague, and Germany for two weeks with 15 theatre majors. I’m very fortunate that my trip co-leader is the logistics queen. She has organized the trip and been the primary liaison with the travel agency who has scheduled hotels, transport, and activities for the trip. So, my journal entries will more likely be about the experience of traveling with students. The ups, the downs, the things that can be learned, and so forth. Anyone wanting tips on where to keep the insurance info, should read the journal of Dr. Christine Williams. They don’t let me near the important papers.
As I enter my third decade at Lee (I joined the faculty full-time in the fall of 1983 after teaching part-time for a year), I often find myself reflecting on how much the school has changed. I’ve watched every new building go up, I’ve witnessed every enrollment increase, and I’ve seen a college become a university. I’ve watched proudly as Lee’s stature has grown locally and nationally.
It’s Easter week – the week that made all the difference for the colleague/friend beside you, in front of you, — each one of us in this room. The week holding the ultimate eternal implication is also why we sit here tonight with divinely implanted, unique gifts and skills yet bonded–bonded by a shared love and deep commitment to follow the one who died for us and then rose.
I guess now would be a good time to confess that when I first began college teaching I had no idea what I was doing. I taught my first classes as a missionary in a tiny Colombian Bible institute in the mid-‘80s and then stepped up to “real” teaching in the early ‘90s during my doctoral fellowship.