Intensive Language Programs Bring Missions to a New Level

intensive language study abroad programReady to go to the ends of the earth? Veritas Christian Study Abroad helps you get there.

Spend a couple weeks to a month developing your language skills while immersing yourself into a new culture. With the support of your Veritas family and Mission Mentor, you will not only learn a language, but also engage in a community of people in need of God’s transforming power and love (and we bet you’ll be transformed too).

Veritas now offers Intensive Language Programs in the following locations:

Add an Intensive Language Program to a semester or summer program or combine it with another Intensive Language Program and receive $200 off! For more info about these opportunities, visit the Language Intensive Programs Page or email us at info@veritasabroad.com.

Want to develop your language skills, earn college credit, and spread God’s love to the nations? Get going.

See what other Veritas students are saying about their experiences.

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Humbled by a Prostitute on the Streets of San Jose

It started off like any other day. Little did I know it would be one that would change my entire perspective of Costa Rica.

Veritas Christian Study Abroad in Costa RicaDuring my study abroad and missions in Costa Rica, I figured I’d see people who weren’t as fortunate as I but I never knew I would experience people so completely lost and broken spiritually. One day, I went to classes as normal and prepared to meet with my Mission Mentor for ministry. My Mission Mentor picked another Veritas student and me up, and we went on our way to meet the group we would be working with that night.

Upon walking into the meeting place, I could feel the presence of God there. The room was dark except for a few candles. A guy played worship songs on his guitar, and everyone in the room sang along. As I sat down, I felt this warm sensation and I knew the presence of the Holy Spirit completely filled the room. We sat and sang, and people prayed. During this time someone said something that stuck in my head: we are God’s agents for change.

I am not just a study abroad student or expat or hopeless wanderer in Costa Rica. I am God’s agent for change… but how would he use me in San Jose?

I knew part of our Veritas mission work would be to go out into San Jose and pray for people, but imagine my surprise when I found out whom these prayers would be for: prostitutes. In my life I have done much mission work—going to orphanages, churches, food distribution days—but never have I actively gone out to pray for people who probably need it the most.

study abroad in Central America

Our leaders set the objective for us: build relationships and pray. We went out and invited the women to join us for “te frio o cafe o galletas” (iced tea, coffee, or cookies). We talked with them, got to know what’s happening in their lives, and prayed for any needs they had.

Although I went many times to talk to the women, one specific lady I had the opportunity to pray for stands out to me. She requested prayer for her foot where she had a giant burn from cooking. I prayed for healing and protection over her. I asked God to keep her safe and pour his love over her. I talked with her and prayed with her and it was a truly incredible experience.

I can’t wait for the next time I am able to go out on behalf of my Savior and help invest time in others so they may know God to be their Savior. The entire opportunity came at the perfect time for me.Making friends on study abroad

These past few nights I have been reading in my devotion about how God calls each and every one of us to live life humbly. I thought over and over about which areas of my life could use a little more humility. I asked God to make me humble and work on my heart to make it more open for his work. I got frustrated trying to figure out my purpose in Costa Rica and how I was suppose to serve God and become closer to him while I here.

mission work and study abroadAnd that night, he revealed himself to me in a way I could never even describe. I am completely humbled by his glory, grace, presence, and the abundant amount of blessings he has given me.

This life isn’t about me—it’s about God and how I can serve him to further advance his kingdom. I am in no way close to being done with mission work in Costa Rica, but I know God will continue to change my life just as he changed my life that night. I look forward to seeing how God continues working in the lives of many people in Costa Rica.

“For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 14:11


Kelli Brower is a sophomore at California Baptist University currently studying at Universidad Veritas in San Jose, Costa Rica.

Kelli isn’t the only agent of change God is using abroad. Join the Veritas family and the many college students who study abroad and serve through missions for a semester or summer. Find out how now.

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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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