[Paden attended Harding University England this fall]
HUintl – What made you decide to go to HUE?
Paden – I decided to go to HUE on a whim, honestly. I was in the Reynolds on the first or second day of classes of my freshman year and I was talking to Dr. Shock, who mentioned he would be the faculty for HUE 2016. I called my older brother, who graduated from Harding, on the walk from the Reynolds to Sears to ask him what he thought about me going to England. He said it sounded good, I thought it sounded good… I heard the words Iceland… And I signed up within the hour. Maybe I’m crazy, but I’d say it’s worked out well.
HUintl – What was it like living in London?
Paden – Living in London is convenient, but crowded. Walking on the streets sometimes feels like a smoke-filled Disney World. However, once you get used to the crowds it’s fun! HUE is unique because we were living real lives in central London. We have our neighborhood grocery store and coffee shop, and we can get anywhere on the tube! Living in London was a whirlwind of activity. It was lively, unique, and bustling. I never felt unsafe.
HUintl – Did one or more of the classes you took this semester help you connect to the culture? If so, how?
Paden – I’d say every class helped me understand the culture of London. In Bible, we learned about some of the mindsets and driving forces of English morals and religious outlooks. In both humanities classes we learned about the history that has formed the rich English culture and patriotism seen today. I can probably talk for an hour about parliament alone… don’t even get me started on the monarchy. In one of our humanities classes, we were given a journal and a list of activities to participate in called “culture points”. We are given a £100 culture fund to encourage us to go to shows, buy English breakfast, go to the flower market, ride in a black cab and more. Dr. Shock taught multi-media storytelling, in which we were inspired to dig deeper into our experiences and find the stories in our every day lives. The faculty at HUE is so encouraging and helpful in immersing student into the culture of London. The director, Lauren Knight, took us to unique places and even brought their family’s friends in to answer questions about living in the UK!
HUintl – What is your mindset now that you have studied abroad?
Paden – After studying abroad I feel more confident. I am more confident in my faith, in my abilities to travel and in the knowledge that life keeps going. I have experienced a lot this semester from dealing with language barriers to being away from my family during the birth of a nephew and the loss of a grandfather. I know that I am better equipped to handle what life throws at me because I have gotten to experience just a piece of God’s greatness. God is the same when languages, cultures and colors aren’t. God is working everywhere and His name will be glorified. I have definitely learned that the world is a big place, but it’s smaller than we think. I believe that we are all just looking for that place we belong and I think that place is anywhere we are willing to invest in God’s people and grow in relationship with Him.
HUintl – Do you have anything else to add?
Paden – HUE is cool because we are in the city (obviously) but we also get an abundance of nature in Iceland and in some of our weekly day trips out of the city. Another cool thing is that there is a lack of language barrier in the city.
For more information on HUE visit our website: www.harding.edu/international