Ukraine: An Amazing Trip! But What Constitutes Amazing? Part 1: Students

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Well it stands to reason that I should write something about my trip to Ukraine. As a short preceding thought, I have been putting off developing my blog because I wanted to fully take all of my own advice that I teach and make my blog impeccable. I now believe that with the time constraints I have, an impeccable blog is not realistic, so this blog will now be more personal. I suppose my own teaching asks for consistent quality content – perhaps this will not be quite the quality I desire, but the consistent content is certainly better than nothing!

Ukraine: This trip has been amazing so far. Lol, I tell my students to show, not tell. So what constitutes amazing? How can I “show” amazing? The first way might be by discussing the students who have come on this trip. They certainly have been making this trip amazing.

I don’t think I could have hand picked a better group – we have a variety of personalities that seem to compliment each other very well. The cast has everything from scholar to soldier, comic to contemplative, pioneer to planner.

Though their personalities are diverse, they have many things in common. The four girls and six guys are all, to a one, open to the new experiences thrown at them, are generally kind and compassionate, are slow to complain when we have to wait hours for a flight connection or need to walk a couple of miles or have an unannounced schedule change or a host of other things – I could go on! As I said, they are great students.

Another thing that seems to be a pervasive characteristic of this group is sincerity. They all seem (and I suppose you never know – they could be fooling me!) very authentic. They possibly teach me as much as I could teach them through their experience of real teacher on this trip: Ukraine itself. Right now it’s the city of Kiev – and every day we open up this oh-so-interactive text to learn of culture and history and humanity in a way that abstractions and books can only hint at. Getting to share this experience with others allows for … a dialogic enhancement of the experience.

The other thing that always surprises me about these college students is their faith. I’ve got some real God-seekers on this trip who…are listening to how He is speaking through our current experience. One spoke of how the beauty of the Orthodox cathedrals we visited has helped her come closer to God, another told of how the majesty of the earthly temples made him think about the significance of the body as a temple. If the grandeur of the Orthodox cathedrals is impressive, then what does that mean about Christ living in us? It is a constant encouragement to me to see these students live out their faith.

I could go on – the students’ reflections on the interaction between communism and capitalism, their thoughts about things like the food or styles and so much more – all of their perspectives on this experience and their… well really friendship, have all helped me to see the world in new ways.

What a great experience! What an AMAZING trip.

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