When your child goes overseas to one of Harding University’s international programs, he or she isn’t the only one learning and experiencing different cultures.
You are, too.
My daughter is studying at Harding’s program in Greece this summer. It is a totally different experience for my wife and for me than it was when our son studied at the Florence, Italy, campus in fall 2011. We didn’t have iPhones in those dark ages. We may have Skyped twice the entire semester, so we felt rather disconnected.
Not this time. We text often, she sends photos anytime, we usually Facetime over the phone once a week, and Instagram and Facebook are providing lots of pictures.
When communicating I just have to keep in mind the eight-hour time difference as she is waking up when I am heading to bed.
One of the best things about this semester in Greece has been that the students write about their trips and take turns emailing the parents, along with sending amazing videos they have made. One of the directors, Loren Beason, is a strong blogger, and her posts on hugreece.com/summer-2016 on their recent excursion to Israel have helped keep me so connected, I almost feel that I have been there with them.
As a parent, the initial expense made me wonder whether it was worth it. After seeing posts just a few days into the summer, I had no doubt it was worth every penny. I’m not sure how one puts a price on experiences such as visiting the Holy Land and climbing Mount Olympus. I believe God’s word is now more real to her than it has ever been.
My wife and I discussed on a recent walk that when she returns, she will not be the same person. How could she be? She has seen and experienced so much in such a short time.
This semester is an investment that I believe is and will continue to pay big dividends. While I’m anxious for her return, I am loving the opportunities to share her experiences along the way.
Tom Buterbaugh, editor/designer