Home is Where the Calling Is

Study abroad and missions to Cinque Terre Italy

 

Two weeks ago, my roommates and I spent the weekend exploring Florence and Cinque Terre.  We took the train back to Rome late Sunday night and made our way from the train to the bus stop.  As we dragged our exhausted bodies out of the train station, I felt an overwhelming sense of comfort as I stepped foot in Rome.

I simply felt home.

I can’t explain it.  It was the first time I have truly felt home in this city since I got here four weeks ago with Veritas Christian Study Abroad.

Home.

Just as Carmel, Indiana served as my home for so long.  Just as camp became a place of solace summer after summer.  Just as my heart grew to love Wheaton, a place of comfort and refuge.  And now, Rome.

My little Ikea (and I literally mean only Ikea) furnished apartment.  My three roommates full of love, laughter, and adventure.  My favorite look-out spot atop the wall overlooking the Roman Forum.  My darling little pastry shop just around the corner.  My favorite gelateria—wait, who am I kidding, I have yet to taste gelato my tastebuds would say no to! The garden down the block where I find refuge and solitude.  The family-owned fruit stand with the freshest watermelon down the block. It’s all mine, and I can finally call it home, not only by address, but in my heart.

And my heart is so glad to be here.

Transitioning to life here has absolutely been one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. While I am still learning, I am learning in a place I can call my home—which feels a lot better than trying to learn in a strange country.Missions in Italy

And yes, I am still making a lot of mistakes.  For instance, when I tried to take my roommates to a cool spot I’d heard about in Florence, I actually ended up getting us lost for at least two hours.  How about the time I tried to purchase a monthly bus pass one day too late? It happened.

Now I am making more memories than mistakes.

Study abroad in ItalyIn Florence, I befriended a leather vendor, and also got really cheap leather bags, of course.  I never thought I’d make it, but I will never forget the breathtaking hike along the coast of Italy.  I didn’t understand a word of the sermon in the completely Italian church service, but I do remember how the Lord answered so many of my prayers.

I am learning so much about what makes a place a home.  It’s the little things, but mostly it’s Jesus.  It is the daily comfort I am able to find in God.  It is the way Christ has chosen to love me.

I am home because Christ has called me here.

I am home because God is here with me.  As I experience the comfort and joy that comes with my heart coming to know this place as home, I cannot imagine the immense joy that will come when I am finally, truly home, with Jesus for eternity.

I am still trying to figure out how to put everything I am experiencing here into words. Key word: trying.

But know that the Lord is at work here in Rome, and in my heart.  He is teaching me so much and showing me his kingdom and family that I have never seen before.  God is so, so faithful in bringing my heart home.

“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe”
{Hebrews 12:28}


Jordan Bear is a Business Economics major at Wheaton College in Illinois. This semester, she’s studying abroad and serving through international missions in the historic, cultural, beautiful Rome, Italy.

Where is God calling you? Maybe “out of your comfort zone” is just outside your door or maybe it’s across the Atlantic Ocean. Wherever it is, find home in the will of God.

If you’re ready to say yes to a semester or summer overseas, apply to study and serve with Veritas now. Still have questions? The Veritas Christian Study Abroad staff is here to help.

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How the French are Like Coconuts

Study abroad in Paris During my ten weeks of study abroad and missions in Paris this summer, I encountered a few instances of “culture shock”. I think many Americans travel to Europe expecting similar cultural values and norms—after all, if you are white, and they are white, how much could be different between you? Right? (The answer is obviously no.)

We think as developed nations they share similar perspectives on morality, politics, even consumerism. We see their cathedrals and expect Christianity to be as pervasive to society there as it is in our own “Bible Belt”. That perception for many, however, is shattered once they land in the foreign airport!

After all, if you are white, and they are white, how much could be different between you? Right?

Europeans differ from Americans, and more specifically, Parisians differ from Texans. Having studied Europe as an International Studies major, I can say my basic framework for understanding French culture didn’t leave me completely naive. Anyone who has spent time abroad would probably agree a gap exists between reading about culture in books and experiencing it with your own eyes.

College misssion trip to FranceMy time in France opened my eyes to recognize stark contrasts between our norms and helped me view my native culture in a more discerning light.

I could tell you so many stories about “culture shock” with regards to witnessing pick-pocketing, urban poverty, some very public displays of affection (and once breast-feeding) on the metro. I could also explain differences in family structure and dynamics, attitude towards life and God, meal times, and views about education, but what surprised me the most about Parisians was seeing the well-known “Coconut Metaphor” in nearly every person I met.

The Coconut Metaphor refers to this idea that the French have a very tough exterior, which takes time and patience to break through, and sweet interior full of passion, loyalty, and emotion.

In my early days of being in Paris, I was very put off by the aloofness I perceived in everyone around me. Living in this great big city keeps you in a close proximity to hundreds of people at all times. You stand two inches apart on the metro, you pass dozens on the street after you get off at your bus stop, stand in an elevator with a neighbor from say, the eighth floor—people are everywhere, all the time.And yet, as a native Texan, an Aggie always walking around with a smile on my face, a girl who relishes spontaneous conversations at the student center, and who holds doors for others, I struggled with the apparent cold indifference I felt all around me.

I am a product of the friendly, relational South, and this urban setting wore on my emotions. Some days, I took it personally, and selfishly assumed that in my direct contact with shop owners and waiters, their coldness came as a product of their total disdain for my American identity (dramatic, I know. Women, right?)

Study abroad and missionsFortunately, as relationships grew with my Parisian friends at the wonderful church I attended, and I felt the deep love and hospitality of my French host family, I began to view these random people with more objectivity. As my knowledge grew, I saw the French attitude not as inherently rude, but simply an exterior that isn’t always indicative of the interior. The tough exterior didn’t reveal what they felt or thought about me. They could have been completely happy or they may have been terribly sad.

Rather than view the French attitude with contempt, I gradually began to see it with compassion and the knowledge that I couldn’t see the full picture.

In my French language classes this summer, we learned Parisians commonly struggle with issues like isolationism and depression— more so than many other cities in Europe. In fact, France has the highest levels of depression in Europe. Rather than view the French attitude with contempt, I gradually began to see it with compassion and the knowledge that I couldn’t see the full picture.

While I am certainly not insinuating every Parisian around me struggled with that urban, post-modern isolation, this new awareness that this might be a contributing factor to, and also result of, the Parisian attitude allowed me to view these random people around me as much more than a hollow coconut shell, and instead as a real person, with a real heart and real emotions.

We are the same. We are all humans created with deep needs and desires. Our outward expressions are certainly different. If I had said “Howdy” to a man on the street, he may have assumed I was crazy, or may have taken it as an invitation. Fortunately, I never took that opportunity to find out! The understanding I gained and the new perception I formulated has proved invaluable. This made my last weeks in Paris more enjoyable and helped me feel less foreign.

Study abroad and missions in FranceWhile this new idea deepened my understanding of French culture, it also helped me gain a new perspective on my own.

I have deep gratitude for the friendliness of the South, but I realized that here, we may have the opposite problem. The French may be coconuts, but we may have the issue of sweet and friendly exteriors that seem deceptively easy to break through, paired with broken interiors that many don’t see.

Exteriors don’t always reveal the heart of a person.

The sorority girl in the line at Starbucks may smile and make a comment about the new specialty drink, but she could be weeping on the inside from something tragic that happened the night before. Yes, that is her business, and my desire would not be that she flaunted this business to the world, or to me, a stranger she had just met. My concern is in how I view her.

I see happy, thriving people all around me. They laugh loudly, for they are American. They smile and say Howdy, for they are Aggies. It wasn’t my first instinct to look beyond exteriors in Paris, and I realized that it isn’t my first instinct to look beyond exteriors here either.

College mission trip to FranceExteriors don’t always reveal the heart of a person.

A tough exterior doesn’t mean the person is rude or hateful. A sweet exterior doesn’t mean the person has joy inside. I am grateful for the struggle I had in understanding the French attitude. Through it, I recognized I had a flawed, simplistic system of observation and perception. My study abroad experience with Veritas Abroad served as a great tool in expanding my lens in how I view the people around me.


Tara Glasener, an International Studies major at Texas A&M University, studied abroad and served through international missions with Veritas Christian Study Abroad in Paris, France this summer. To read more student stories, please visit our student testimonials page. To earn college credit while serving an international community, apply with Veritas today.

*The deadline to apply for Veritas in Paris, France Spring 2015 is October 15. Apply now!

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There’s Still Time—Don’t Waste It.

Apply for Study Abroad and International Missions with Veritas Christian Study AbroadWe’ve got some news you’ll want to hear.

Have you been dreaming of going abroad? Has your wanderlust left you staring at maps imagining the journeys you’ll take and the people you’ll meet along the way? Did that week-long mission trip to Central America last summer fuel your passion to love and serve the lost and hurting, and you’re ready to hop back on a plane to hold babies and pray with widows? Maybe your roommates are sick of you watching Spanish soap operas in an effort to become bilingual and think you should just go abroad already.

Study Abroad and Missions to the DR

We’ve got good news for you: there is still time.

Christian Study Abroad in Spain

There is still time to apply for certain Veritas winter and spring 2015 programs! The deadline to apply for the following programs is now October 10:

Dominican Republic

England

Italy

Spain

There is still time to immerse in a culture and invest in a community. There is still time to ditch the status quo and have the experience of a lifetime. There is still time to study and serve with Veritas this winter or spring. There is still time—don’t waste it! We’ve made it simple (and online). Apply now.

Study Abroad and International Missions in Spain

See what Veritas alumni are saying about their experiences. Don’t know which program is right for you? Find out!


image credit: Veritas students Emily Motley, DR 2014; Jessica Talley, Spain 2014; Nick Scarinzi, Spain 2014

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Small Acts of Service Make Great Outreach Possible

London Eye Study Abroad Missions Without a doubt, studying abroad in London, England brought about tremendous personal and spiritual growth in my life. This is due largely to the opportunities provided to me by the Veritas Abroad program.

Through meeting with my missions mentor, serving the city at outreach events, or just being alone with God, I recognize many instances that played an essential role to my spiritual and personal development while abroad. I hope the lessons I learned abroad will be helpful in my life as a student and member of a campus ministry.

My missions mentor, Verity, helped foster my spiritual growth while studying abroad in London. The day after I landed in London, England, Verity met with me, and we had follow-up meetings roughly every week after that.

Verity immediately showed her willingness to help by buying clothes and other short-term necessities for a student whose luggage had gotten lost during the flight. She always had plenty of suggestions of things to see and do in London, and frequently offered to go sightseeing with us during the weekends. But Verity is more than a tour guide—her selflessness, compassion, and availability blessed me during my Veritas Abroad program. Verity’s support and guidance for foreigners inspired me to offer more of my time and resources to people who need it in my community, especially the large population of international students on my campus.

College Mission Trip to Europe

In our meetings, Verity challenged us with scripture. I set my focus on three verses specifically: 1 John 1:5, Matthew 5:16, and Psalm 139:12.

“God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”

The 1 John verse reminded me of the pure and holy God I serve. He does not deal in sin or death or fear at all—only good and righteous things. He is radiant in his holiness and spreads his goodness over the universe. This became one of my favorite reasons to praise the Lord during my time abroad.

“Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven.”

A mentor from my home campus ministry sent this Matthew 5 verse to me. This command from Jesus reminded me of my role in life no matter where I go; I need to reflect the goodness God radiates so I may bring him glory. The verse gave me a sense of purpose every day, whether I was simply attending lecture and working on my class assignments, or spending a day wandering around the city.

“The night will shine like day, for darkness is as light to you.”

Psalm 139 became a source of encouragement for me during rare moments of fear and discouragement. This verse emphasizes the power behind God’s purity and radiance—God’s love overcomes the evil and uncertainty of the world. This truth comforted me whenever I got lost wandering around the city or felt overwhelmed by the darkness in it.

Because of my Mission Mentor’s encouragement, I had these scriptural truths to guide me and offer me wisdom during my time studying abroad.

Sight seeing in London College Travel Another source of spiritual development in England came from the variety of outreach and fellowship events I participated in, including Bible studies, soccer club, and street outreach

In each of these events, I played a small role—passing out construction paper or giving a high-five or even just watching others care for drunks. Yet, I feel these experiences helped me to get outside my comfort zone and trust God will use even the smallest acts of service for his glory.

Small acts of service make great acts of outreach possible.

This is an invaluable lesson I will no doubt bring back to my campus ministry.

While the time spent in service and with my mentor helped to develop me spiritually, my greatest growth came out of the time I spent one-on-one with the Lord while abroad.

God used this study abroad experience to both grow my independence and make me realize my dependance in different ways. The trip forced me to be completely responsible for my own time, transportation, and navigation, all of which may be important to manage on my own later in life. However, I realized to a greater extent that I am absolutely dependent on God for my provision and protection.

College Student International Mission Work

I experienced firsthand how God is with me, even if I’m 4,000 miles away from home. I have held each of these truths as I have come home and look forward to applying them to new situations in my life.

God has been faithful in using this challenging (and at times frightening) experience for my good and his glory. In my relationships abroad, in my service experience, and in my time with him, he has proved to be the same good Father and mighty King that he is in Lexington, Kentucky—and what a joyful realization that is!


This is a post by Annie Bruner, a student at the University of Kentucky, who studied abroad and did missions on the Veritas London Summer II 2014 program.

Faith can mean taking risks. Taking risks gets you out of your comfort zone. Getting out of your comfort zone promotes growth. Growth produces faith and changes the world. Imagine the personal and spiritual development that comes from taking a leap? Take the leap today. Apply to study and serve abroad.

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Which Study Abroad Program is Right for Me?

Want to study abroad but don’t know where to go? Or maybe you want to go everywhere and can’t narrow it down to one place. Have a heart to serve through missions but not sure where? With programs in Europe, Latin America, and Asia, Veritas Christian Study Abroad offers something for everyone. So which one is right for you?


For the Foodie & History Buff
Hold on, let me Instagram that.

Study Abroad and Missions in Rome ItalyPasta, gelato, cappuccino, gnocchi? That’s amore. Not only is Italy known for its delectable  cuisine and coffee, its history is just as rich as its food. From the Colosseum to the Vatican, explore the history of a global empire that saw the beginnings of the Christian church. In Rome, along with a variety of course offerings in business, fine arts, international relations, economics, and history, you will take a Veritas course on Church History. With Professor Leonardo de Chirico, study the development of the Christian church from the New Testament to present day. Of course you’ll have to take a study break for ravioli every now and then.

For the YOLO-er
Carpe Diem! Study abroad mission trip to BrazilFlorianopolis is a feast for the senses that will have you seizing every moment. You will not be short on water here: from ocean to lakes to waterfalls, whether you want to relax by the sea or raft white waters, there’s h2o for you. Floripa’s 42 beaches aren’t the only bragging points for this island city. This tropical paradise also boasts mountains, rainforests, sand dunes, and other natural wonders surrounding a metropolitan city. It won’t take long for you to join the Brazilian way of life and love for celebration. Let the city’s nature, history, hospitality, and diversity charm you as you study culture and business with locals and internationals alike.

With 40% of the world’s Catholic population residing in Brazil, the nation reigns as the most Catholic country by population. However, religion trends have shifted. Brazilian youth are turning away from Roman Catholic Church—and religion altogether. This nation may host events on the global stage like the World Cup and Summer Olympics but many of its residents live in poverty. Restore hope to lost people as you invest in a local church and community through missions.

For the Metropolitan
Strike a pose, vogue, vogue

Why Study Abroad in Paris

Paris is always a good idea. When you think of Paris, what comes to mind? Romance, fashion, food, sophistication, and art. The City of Lights, Paris is the capital of France and one of the biggest cities in Europe with soaring diversity. From art to architecture, you will never stop witnessing beauty all around you. Study the Renaissance & Reformation in a cultural hub, where centuries of history still influence the culture—and the world—today. Experience a fashion capital and foodie’s dream. The city may be bustling, but there’s always time to break for shopping or a cafe au lait and crepe.

France may come from a long history of faith and reformation but for most it seems to be just that—history. The growing Muslim population has made Islam the second most-widely practiced religion in France. Connect with university students through campus outreach and language exchanges. Share the love of the Father of Lights with those in search of hope and purpose.

For the Adventure Junkie & Tree Hugger
Saving the planet one zip line at a time.

Arenal Volcano Adventure Costa Rica Study AbroadIn Costa Rica, raft rivers, witness breathtaking landscapes, hike around volcanoes, watch bio-diverse wildlife in their natural habitats, and much more. Not to mention the miles and miles of beaches you will enjoy! At the host university in San Jose, exercise your mind with courses like philosophy and theology, and explore a nation who cares about ecology with the university’s many environmental studies courses.

Zipline Costa Rica Veritas Study AbroadThe Dominican Republic is another great program for the thrill-seeker. From caving to white-water rafting, you won’t be bored in this beautiful country. The host university in Santo Domingo offers 16 undergraduate degree programs in Health Sciences, Social Sciences, Engineering, Law, Education, and Arts. Both Costa Rica and the DR are top Eco-tourism nations in Latin America and the Caribbean, respectively.

While you’re studying in Costa Rica or the DR, you may work with social justice ministries fighting human trafficking and sex slavery. Help families in need both physically and spiritually as you build relationships and meet felt needs. Worship with believers in house churches and prayer gatherings, and see God working as you serve the local community.

For the Daring to be Different
I don’t know what it is but I’ll eat it!

Study Abroad and Mission Trip to South KoreaKorean civilization dates back nearly 4,000 years, but the city of Seoul lives on the cutting edge of modern society. South Korea has seen bigger economic growth over the past few decades than most nations and ranks as one of the most developed countries in East Asia. This lively city that boasts over 10 million inhabitants also houses museums, palaces, temples—and did we mention the nearly 1500 miles of coastline? It may not be the typical study abroad destination like Europe or Latin America, but don’t let that scare you. South Korean cuisine, customs, and city living is fan favorite among those who visit or study there.

Konkuk University in Seoul offers the widest variety of courses of all Veritas programs, which means you’re sure to find something to fit your degree plan. From engineering to humanities and medicine to fashion, study with locals and internationals in a culture unlike most study abroad programs. South Korea is also an emerging player in the international mission field. Second only to the U.S., South Korea is the largest sending nation of international missionaries, making it an exciting place to get involved with the local church. If you’re looking to step outside your comfort zone and be amazed by a new cultural experience, Seoul is the place to start.

That’s not all! Check out Veritas programs in England, Spain, Argentina, Chile, and Peru!


No matter where you go, the team at Veritas is with you every step of the way. Veritas creates intentional academic and mission programs for college students that combine experiential learning with longer-term mission opportunities and offers support on both academic and spiritual fronts. Engage in a culture and make a difference. Go to the ends of the earth with Veritas Abroad.

Questions? Ask us. Ready to go? Apply.

 

Photo cred: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

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How God Used Four Weeks in Rome

Before studying abroad with Veritas Christian Study Abroad, I had never been to another country. College Student trip to Colosseum in Rome

I did not know what it would be like to really travel, like the kind to a new continent and to actually be in front of famous structures like the Colosseum. I imagined having my idea of service completely taken over by the meaningful, life-altering conversations I would have with refugees about the way Jesus has changed my life.

Nothing went quite like I expected it to go, some even slightly disappointing, but the way God worked in my life more than exceeded my expectations.

I traveled with a group of classmates from unique religious backgrounds. Many of my friends abroad said how much they loved to travel and listed it on their Instagram descriptions: “planet-wanderer,” “pursuer of wanderlust,” “coffee-lover always dreaming of traveling.” Of course a person’s life cannot be decided from a social media tagline, but through getting to know the people on my trip, I found that travel itself was their life pursuit, the thing they sought for fulfillment. Interestingly, my friends without faith in Christ as their core belief, were the same ones I found talking about the next weekend rather than appreciating the one we experiencing. Instead of tasting our truffle ravioli, they would be talking about the pesto trofie coming up.

Christian Study Abroad in RomeThis is how God taught me about the idol of travel. Surrounded in class by the sculptural idols of the Imperial age 1 B.C. to 1 A.D., I realized the sinful desire to put idols before God did not stop with Rome’s official state religion of paganism. Our hearts are in the same condition, just in a different historical context. In this modern age, we do not widely worship physical statues, but the new acceptable idol is the “next thing.” We think the next place we travel to will be fulfilling, the next food we taste will finally amaze us, the next bucket list accomplishment will complete our life, even though the last, or even current, thing on the list never did.

God reminded me that only a life for Christ is fulfilling. He gave us a world to explore that we can certainly see His beauty in and enjoy His gifts while we are here, but the things of this world do not satisfy our souls, and the attitudes on my trip confirmed it.

God also used Rome to make me bolder. I grew in boldness by flying over the Atlantic ocean, by crossing streets in front of speeding Vespas, and by navigating a foreign city through piazzas and flaky bus routes. I butchered my way through ordering Italian dishes and critiquing aloud in Art History.

The biggest way God had me conquer my fears was in witnessing to my classmates. Study abroad was not my first experience in evangelism, but it was a huge step in sharing my faith with my peers.

When God put me in classes that discussed the early stages of Christianity, with the opportunity to point out the differences in what Jesus taught and decisions made by the Church, I knew He had something planned for me. “You have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control,” 2 Timothy 1:7 reminded me.

Striking up conversations about the Gospel—how it could change lives, and how it applied directly to us—came easily, albeit a deeper than normal topic, and naturally. It was as if caring for another person, no matter the conversation that entailed, was completely acceptable.

Thinking about the complete change in me surrounding my idea of evangelism makes me so thankful for the work God did in my life and the walls he broke down in my heart. Who knew that He would use Rome to do it?

Christian Study Abroad Roman RuinsThis summer in Rome, I learned about living as a missionary. Our Mission Mentor works as a refugee missionary, and we also had the chance to meet relational missionaries and missionaries focusing on victims of sex trafficking. When asked why she decided to leave her life in America and work with men fleeing the oppression in Iran, my Mission Mentor responded, “Well, God called me to.”

In working at the refugee center and hearing from the missionaries, I learned we are not working for the fruit of our labor to be seen, but for the Lord. Of course we should pray and strive for results, but simultaneously be content in doing the work He has called us to do. For our group of Veritas girls, that meant volunteering at the refugee center, one of the only places to welcome these men in Italy, whether or not we could hold a conversation. If we loved them by encouraging them while playing games—motivated by the fact that Jesus loved us first—it did not matter if we could tell they understood the Gospel more. We were living it out, and Christ has the power to open their eyes.

Study Abroad friends in Rome Trevi FountainThis summer, I did not have the experiences I thought I would.

The Colosseum was not life-completing, but it was impressive. My conversations with refugees were not all about the Gospel, but they were spoken in love. The people on my trip were not perfect, but they are loved by the one true God.

This summer, God confirmed that His ways are higher than my ways, and I am thankful for the way He used my home in Rome.

This is a blog post by Kaitlyn Hansen, a student at Texas A&M University who studied with Veritas Abroad in Rome, Italy. 


What’s holding you back from life transformation? Don’t let fear or apathy be the cause. Put purpose in your travel experience: serve a community while you fulfill your degree. Apply today for Veritas Christian Study Abroad! Not ready yet? Get more info or set up an advising session with us.

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Make “Back to School” Better with Study Abroad & Missions

As summertime fades and murmurs of returning to the classroom hang in the air, we thought we’d remind all college students out there why you should make your next “back to school” be abroad.


You could go back to school shopping for supplies like spiral notebooks and a pencil bag…

Or your back to school list could look like this:

Study Abroad ChecklistYou could go back to school and learn about the history of Roman civilization…

Or you could experience it.

You could go back to school to rock climb at the Rec Center or play intramural sports…

Or you could go on a real field trip.

kylieslayden_mtngroupYou could go back to school to a long commute on campus transportation or spend all your gas finding a parking spot…

Or you could get to class like this:

Double Decker bus You could go back to school on a diet of Ramen noodles and $5 Hot-n-Ready Little Caesar’s pizzas…

Or you could munch on Spanish tapas, devour Italian pizza and gelato, savor a crepe in Paris, or indulge in street food in Latin America (Tacos aren’t just for Tuesdays).

Friends Study Abroad in Italy You could go back to school to your same old routine…

Or you could make a difference in a local community and have a life-changing experience.

Study Abroad and Missions to the DR


You are difference makers and world changers. The typical college experience is not enough. You’ve seen unacceptable realities in the world and said, “That’s not okay.” You know there is more: more to learn, more to discover, more to grow, more who need to know the love of Christ. Make your next Back to School experience be a meaningful one—study and serve the nations.

Apply now to study abroad and do missions with Veritas Christian Study Abroad!

Image credit: Thomas Shahan, Kevin Poh, Karen Chan, Emily Motley

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