A week after spring semester concluded, nine Grace College students and Professor Jacqueline Schram, dean of Grace Core and Global Initiatives, left the United States for Paris, France. According to student Abby Phinney, the team’s 10-day trip was riddled with moments of awe. “It’s one thing to see the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre in a book; it’s an entirely different experience to stand inches from them and look up,” Phinney explained. “History becomes tangible in aged countries like France. Every cobblestone, cafe and curving alleyway tells a story.”
The students’ first four days were spent in the capital city; from there, they took a train to Dijon. In Dijon, the team visited Grace’s study abroad students and experienced some excellent French cuisine. A couple of days later, they wove their way through the French countryside. Among other landmarks, the team visited the oldest castle in Burgundy and the Abbey at Cluny. The trip culminated in Professor Schram’s peaceful childhood home, the Chateau de Saint Albain.
“This experience was unlike any other,” commented Phinney. “We were steeped in French culture, from cuisine to the country’s history to interaction with French people. None of us could imagine any trip being finer. We’re all so glad we chose France as our Go Encounter destination,” she concluded.
Phinney is a senior at Grace studying journalism. Post-graduation, Phinney plans to pursue a career as a public relations specialist in the Warsaw, Ind. area.
“Go Encounter France has left an indelible mark on my life,” Phinney said. “As a journalist, my writing is enriched by cultural experiences. As a Christian, I’m more aware of how big my God truly is!”
In addition to study abroad opportunities, all undergraduate programs at Grace include a mandatory cross-cultural field experience. Many students choose to fulfill this requirement through a Go Encounter trip to a variety of destinations, which include Brazil, Fiji, France, England, Germany, Japan, Romania, South Korea, Cambodia, Uganda and Ireland. Grace’s staff and faculty lead these seven-to-10-day trips on which students explore native cultures and serve diverse communities.