I can assure you that I am not the most well traveled student at Dordt College, not even close. However, since I came to Dordt, I have traveled more than I ever have before. How did I travel so much? Well, let me tell you. No, I am not independently wealthy—just as broke as the average college student. The trick is to be involved. If you are involved in clubs, sports, theatre, or whatever I guarantee you will take a trip or two—that isn’t going to break the bank.
I have found that one of the best things Dordt gave me was the many opportunities to leave Dordt’s campus. Campus life has been an amazing experience thus far, but sometimes you just want to get away for a little bit. So, that is why I have found that some of the best memories I’ve made while at Dordt is when I stepped away from campus.
One of the questions that I was asked during the interview process to go on SPICE (Study Program In Contemporary Europe) was why I wanted to go on SPICE. Fairly general, but important question. Part of my answer is to explore other parts of the world. God’s creation is a beautiful place that we get to live in! I am constantly floored by how stunning creation is. Being from Chicagoland I have grown up around more buildings than fields or mountains. One of my most distinct memories from a young age is seeing the Chicago skyline at night for the first time. I was in awe. It also hit me that even though this place is man made, it is still a part of God’s creation.
When going to school I drive the eight to ten hours through miles of corn and bean fields. Only to be interrupted by a few trees, and the Worlds Largest Truck Stop on I-80. The first time I took the trip, which was sophomore year of high school (RYS woot woot!). I thought it was the most boring ride I have ever experienced! However, after doing that same drive countless times now I have grown more fond of being able to see miles of golden fields flowing in the wind shimmering in the light. Coming to school at the start of this school year I drove to school by myself. I was about in the middle of Iowa when I ended up in the middle of two storms. I was driving under sunny and blue skies, but witnessing the power of two storms that were surrounding me. This was one of the coolest experiences I've had while driving across Iowa.
One of the best decisions I ever made was choosing to go on PLIA (Putting Love Into Action). PLIA is a service trip that many students go on over spring break. I went my sophomore year to Denver, Colorado. However, there are many other locations that are available to go to across the country. My team worked with Brothers Redevelopment, Inc. painting houses, fences, stairwells, etc. We also had time to explore downtown, and hike around Red Rocks. Along with PLIA there’s also AMOR (A Mission OutReach), which is a service trip over Christmas break that goes to places out of the country like Tanzania, Nicaragua, Liberia, etc. Even though I have not had the privilege of going on AMOR I have heard many beautiful stories from those who have. This past year a group of students went to Liberia and built a bridge with OneBodyOneHope. This bridge connects a small village to other villages, which makes it easier to transfer goods, water, etc. to one another. This village was seemingly cut off from the other villages, but thanks to OneBodyOneHope and AMOR bridges are literally being built.
Other than service trips there are many classes, clubs and other ways to travel. Core 160, which is the core art requirement, takes a trip to Minneapolis. The theatre company sends students to the American College Theatre Festival, which changes locations every two years. I partnered with the talented Annie Sears, fellow Dordt Life blogger, when she was nominated to compete in Minneapolis last year. I also played volleyball for Dordt my freshman and sophomore year, where we traveled to many different places for tournaments. A few highlights were Lincoln, Nebraska; Duluth, Minnesota; and Nationals in Kansas City, Missouri. Many clubs also take trips to various places as well. The business club visits businesses every year in places like Des Moines, Iowa. Communication club went to Kansas City as well, and many other clubs travel to other cities that are only a few hours away. Choir and band go on tour every year to many places. Last year the choir went to the Netherlands, and both band and choir has visited many states across the country the past couple years. There's even an all campus retreat (which I've already written about) that goes to lake Okoboji every year if you don't want to go to far away.
One of the best ways to travel while still being at Dordt is to study abroad—even if it for three weeks over the summer programs. I am currently studying through the SPICE program in the Netherlands. I have traveled the most I have ever traveled before in my life in these past few months. I was talking with some of the other students with me in Europe, and we mentioned that sometimes we wake up and forget which country we are in that day. Since January I have visited six new countries (The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Czech Republic, Italy, and Spain) and I will be in at least three more countries if not more by the end of this semester (Romania, Hungary, and England). It has been an adventure, and a learning experience every single day since I arrived in Europe, and I count my blessings every day. There are also many other study abroad programs other than SPICE like SPIN a semester in Nicaragua, LA semester, Chicago Semester, Washington DC semester, a semester in Spain, South Korea, New Zealand, and many more. All wonderful opportunities for Dordt students.
Above: Johanna Lubke - New Zealand; Kim DeVries & Megan Ludens - South Korea; Renae DeWaard - Nicaragua; Megan Kaiser - LA
Now, I am not here to brag, but show that even as a broke, starving, college student, we have many more opportunities than one might think about seeing the world. Dordt has many routes that people can take. The routes that I mentioned are only a few examples of how to not get stuck on campus. Campus is great and all, but we have a lot more of God’s creation than the trip from Siberia (the farthest away parking lot on campus) to the classroom building.