Traveling abroad holds the potential to provide an exchange of ideas, an exchange of traditions, and an exchange of cultures. But more than that, these educational experiences hold the ability to transform hearts. It is with this in mind that the Glazer Institute has funded two groups of more than 50 students each to spend two weeks in Israel on a cultural, educational, and spiritual journey. While visiting sacred areas of spiritual pilgrimage and historical significance, students also took advantage of opportunities to engage in dialogue with Israeli and Palestinian students, to spend time in refugee settlements, and to meet with families broken from the conflict between Palestine and Israel. Speaking with experts in the fields of religion, history, and politics, students formed closer bonds as a group and cemented ties with the country, the people, and the culture of Israel. Their testimonials—shown below—reflect a true transformation and a further understanding of the region and the vibrant life it maintains.
Chelsie Corbett, Seaver student and participant in the Israel Educational Field Trip with the Florence Study Abroad program in Spring 2010
"Israel is a place you hear about in the news. It is a land mentioned time and time again in ancient history class or Religion 101. If I open up my Bible I can read all about the events that took place in Jerusalem, Galilee, Jericho, and Nazareth. However, it wasn't until I stepped off of the airplane in Tel Aviv and filled my lungs with the salty sea air that I realized Israel is not just a land of stories but a promised land with a pounding pulse, a land where history is not sedentary but perpetually being made and shaping the lives of its people."
Amelia Huckins, Seaver student and participant in the Israel Educational Field Trip with the Florence Study Abroad program in Spring 2010
"Walking literally in Christ's footsteps is a surreal feeling and by the time we reached the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (where the actual crucifixion and burial is said to have happened) I felt like I had just completed a significant spiritual journey. As Christians, we do not have a designated place where we are required to visit, such as Mecca for the Muslims or the Wailing Wall for the Jews, but I think that walking the Via Dolorosa, stopping at each station, and ending in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem is our version of a pilgrimage."
Lauren Johnson, Seaver student and participant in the Israel Educational Field Trip with the Florence Study Abroad program in Spring 2010
"As much historical, political, and religious information as we learned—and Israel was a treasure trove of all of these!—we also got to experience the culture in a way that has absolutely broadened my global perspective while at the same time bonding [our] group together."
Carson Radke, Seaver student and participant in the Israel Educational Field Trip with the London Study Abroad Program in Summer 2009
"The students were particularly fascinated by how Dr. Marrs and Dr. Soper organized the trip in accordance with their specialties; religion and politics, respectively. Through their knowledge, we were able to stand in Jerusalem and be informed of its thousands of years of history and then jump to the modern day issues of the Arab-Israeli conflict….The Israel trip will not only be a lifetime memory, but also an experience that defines us as individuals."