BY MELISSA SOLANO
I can’t believe how rapidly this semester is flying by!
At the moment, we are all dispersed throughout the continent for our 10-day break. I myself am fortunate enough to be meeting my parents in Barcelona for the week.
When we all return, we’ll have a mere 5 weeks left here. I’ve been thinking a lot about this and reflecting on the semester so far.
What I have come to realize is that among all the blessings and amazing opportunities that grace us in our 112 days, there is one in particular that stands out in my mind.
Yes, the Kartause is beautiful. European churches are breathtaking, and the cities are alive with a unique kind of energy. We have developed new and sometimes unexpected friendships and crossed many a country off our bucket lists.
But despite all this, I think that one of the most amazing gifts the Austria Program gives is the gift of the faculty. It sounds cheesy, I know. But it’s so, so true.
Life here is different, partly because we are given such an immersion into the lives of our professors and faculty. Ministry to Moms is a big part of our community, and it’s not uncommon to play with the Kartause kids in the courtyard or play area.
Having such a close relationship with faculty families has allowed us to see them interact with one another, with their respective spouses and their children in a variety of settings. I don’t think that I am alone in my opinion that the faculty and their families are a community of some of the most incredibly holy and passionate people I have ever met. Their ability to balance work, family and faith is absolutely inspiring, and their willingness to be open and real with students is a blessing not to be missed.
And so readers, this is my advice to those of you who have yet to make your Austrian adventure, and even those who have or will not: take advantage of the gifts and people around you. Soak up every minute of their wisdom and holiness and let yourself be inspired. Discover and become who you were truly meant to be through adventure and friendship. You won’t regret it.
The families have been wholesome and refreshing to interact with. We are very much indebted to them for all that they have sacrificed to bring their families to live with us and serve us. One of my favorite times was the Breakfast Under the Stars, when the teachers, Scott, Sarah, and the Kartause kids cooked for us and served us. Mr. Pipp and Mr. Cassidy and Dr. Newton need our prayers now that they will be leaving.