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Europe: Reformation Switzerland and Renaissance Italy
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Journal 6



After almost five weeks away from home, family, friends, America, I’ve
realized a lot. When EMU so proudly proclaims the cross-cultural program
as being “life changing” I often find myself thinking that it is hard to
believe, that is until now.

I didn’t know it was possible to become so close to people I never took
the time to really get to know, or how a conversation among new friends
can open your heart and mind to a whole new world. I remember hearing
people say, “Europe isn’t a real cross-cultural, it’s a glorified
vacation.” I have to admit that I had some of those feelings myself.
Sitting here now after five weeks of cultural immersion, I would like
those people to feel and experience what I have. Taking the wrong train
because you don’t speak one word of German, ordering water at a restaurant
not realizing it costs more than a glass of expensive wine, walking up and
down the side of a mountain daily to get to our dorms, getting completely
lost in Paris because you’re relying on your elementary I and II French,
holding back words that are screaming to come out for the sake of group
dynamics, speaking American politics with those you know are waiting to
jump down your throat at the first word of war support…all of these things
plus countless other experiences have made up my cross-cultural
experiences.

Some people are sitting back home thinking all of us European travelers
are eating expensive cheese and drinking expensive French wine when in
reality we are walking through castles where Anabaptists were shackled to
the floor, standing on the banks of a river where radicals were drowned or
burnt on the stake, standing inside the Sacre Coeur Basilica in Paris that
was a hiding place for the persecuted during WWII, walking through the
Louvre and standing face-to-face with the Mona Lisa. Just because we
aren’t in a war-torn country or severely poor country does not mean we are
not far removed from our comfort zones. These past weeks in Switzerland
have brought me closer to God, fellow students, and led me on a path of
self-discovery.

– Ed Lunney