I remember becoming an admitted student last April and feeling all of the stress of choosing a college dissipate. My parents were concerned that I only picked TCU so I could snag the last spot in Frog Camp Berlin, and that definitely was a factor. But honestly, who could say no to all of the wonderful things TCU had to offer? Sure, all 15 schools I looked at offered great academics, most had exciting sports, beautiful campuses, connections all over the world, and ways for me to grow. But Texas Christian University was the only school that felt like I was truly loved and welcomed upon immersing myself in the Horned Frog territory.
A few days after I committed to TCU, I drove (a few miles per hour over the speed limit) to get down here as fast as I could for an Honors weekend. This would be my third visit to the school, but my first time on campus as a member of the Frog Family. While I did not know it at the time, God was hinting to me all of the things he had in store for me on this campus. The red sand that lined the sidewalks hinted my involvement with the International Justice Mission, the student I connected with who accidentally let slip what fraternity he was in hinted my joining of this fraternity, and my sneaking a peek of the chapel when I wasn’t sure if I was allowed to go in hinted all of the ways I have been able to encounter Him over the past semester and a half. While all of these things did not surprise me, per se, they did excite me for the seemingly limitless opportunities to grow in my walk as a student. The one hint that did surprise me, however, was my encounter with Dr. Pitcock when I first heard about Cultural Routes. I stood there trying to keep my jaw from dropping as he told me about this incredible experience he facilitated in Europe. I never would have suspected that I would have been one of the people chosen to participate and contribute to the adventure.
Before I knew it, it came time to apply for the Honors Abroad Experiences in November. I knew I had to give the application a shot; who could turn down the opportunity to explore Berlin, Munich, Interlaken, Cinque Terre, Florence, and Rome? Obviously, anyone would say yes to this, but a conflict arose. Even still, anyone could travel to any of these cities and follow the itinerary of Cultural Routes. So why apply?
Reading the description of the experience made C.S. Lewis’s description of Humanity in Mere Christianity ring loud in my head. He explains humanity as a fleet of ships, sailing towards the same objective of peace and harmony; when one ship becomes stronger, or faster, or learns new information about the course ahead, the entire navy benefits. I knew Cultural Routes would not only put in my close proximity to incredible leaders on TCU’s campus for three and a half weeks (which will no doubt expand my horizons in more ways than I could ever imagine), but would also build my emotional, physical, and spiritual resilience. I knew that Cultural Routes would show me how different Cultures interact and have developed throughout the years: making all of those seemingly dead pages of AP European History come alive. But most of all, I knew that these adventures on this once in a lifetime experience would heighten my perspective, understanding, and ability to be a global citizen. This growth will indubitably enrich my life, but the light it gives off will be able to shine through in all that I do for the rest of my life.
Cultural Routes is an amazing, unique way in which humanity gets stronger year after year, thus helping that Naval Fleet I mentioned in the title grow sturdier, smarter, and better connected. Needless to say, I am eager and enthusiastic to sail* for CR10.
*Note: we are not actually sailing.