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Bethany Grieco

My Asian Experience

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As the past few weeks have gone by and I have had time to reflect on my Asian experience, I think about the struggles and the ability to overcome, I realized what community truly is. It was the people I went with, my classmates, professors and my faith that challenged me and encouraged me to experience more.

I was encouraged by my classmates to try new things. They were always trying to help me get the full experience of Asia, whether it was trying disgusting foods or seeing the city when I just didn’t want to. They made the trip, a trip of a life time.

The next best thing on the trip was the ability to travel with my professors and leaders. They were incredible, challenging us to make the best of the trip. They were our own personal tour guides who knew so much. They encouraged us to dig deep and learn big, recommending us to research further into the areas we were interested in on the trip. They were always ready to have intellectual conversations or ready to crack a joke. They made the atmosphere light and easy for traveling.

One of the best experiences on the Asia trip was the growth in my personal walk with Jesus. As we traveled and experienced difficult times I was encouraged by my friends and professors to turn to the lord in our times of need, this was a necessity. We found a verse which we tried to live by in Ephesians four:

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit- just as you were called to one hope when you were called—one Lord as you were called to one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Together with classmates, profs and the lord, it made my trip one of the best I have ever been on. I learnt what a Christian community is, always being there for each other. It was a wonderful experience I would do again and again.


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Thailand, never before had I thought of Thailand as a mountainous region filled with kind loving people, ready and willing to greet you, warm and welcoming. Known as the land of smiles I definitely have noticed the generosity and kindness the Thai people have to offer.
The Thai people are very proud, they are known in Southeast Asia for being the country that has never been colonized. As a tourist I am constantly reminded of this, seeing that every Thai person likes to mention this fact.
There is definitely something brilliant about Thailand. Unique from all the other Asian countries, I have found this country to feel the most safe and exciting.
After visiting many Buddhist Watts, participating in monk chats and having a practicing Buddhist looking after me I feel as if I am an expert on the Buddhist religion.
The Southeast Asian trip is coming to a close and I am feeling sad about leaving the country. I have grown comfortable with the Tuk Tuk rides and often running into elephants on sidewalks late at night. There is so much more to see here and I am sad that I will be leaving.
This travel term has been the best learning experience I have been on. Having two professors that both teach on history I feel that I have been able to learn so much. By seeing the sites and experiencing things first hand I will never forget what I have learned.

The Experience

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When I arrived in the Philippines I felt overwhelmed. I did not realize what I had gotten my self into.  As days passed it started to occur to me that this trip was not a luxury trip but required my full participation in everything I had. The Filipino family I was assigned to was nothing but caring and giving. It was overwhelming the love they poured into our friendship. This poor modest family was ready and willing to give everything they had to satisfy my needs. I learned so much about generosity from them.

I also was introduced to Asia’s love for Videoke. This horrifying act of embarrassment is often funny when you watch the first two people go up and make a fool of themselves. After the second singer you are already bored, but this does not apply to Asians. They never tire of it.
Malaysia has been a completely different experience than the Philippines. Being here in Malaysia has spoiled me rotten. Anything I would like to eat that is western food is right at my finger tip. My home stay had lived in London, England for a few years and had a good idea of what we westerners eat. He provided us with toast and eggs! Finally no rice in the mornings! Yippee. I have greatly enjoyed the mountains of Malaysia along with the beautiful clear waters of the ocean. I hope to return today.

Yesterday I had at least 50 of the most beautiful coloured fish surround me while I was snorkeling. They were nibbling at my fingertips. It was definitely an experience of a life time. I am so gratefulfor being here and am trying to enjoy every moment to it’s fullest.

Asia Asia Asia

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Asia.  As soon as I hear this word my stomach tightens. I know excitement is up ahead. We have worked our butts off to get here it still doesn’t feel real. It doesn’t feel like in just a few days I will be boarding an airplane for an eighteen hour flight.

When I think of this trip I still haven’t bothered to find out about the details. I think it is more exciting this way. Two months, three countries, a bunch of friends, what more is there to ask for?

I am looking forward to this trip. Another chance to challenge myself to soak up everything I can; to learn, to expand my thoughts and ideas, and really embrace another’s way of living. This is what life is all about, leaving your comfort zone.

This trip is going to stretch me. By living with people from different countries, I will experience so much more. By attending lectures from the people who live in these countries, I feel like my general understanding of these countries is going to greatly increase.

So here I am getting ready to say goodbye to the familiar and take on something totally different. I am ready; I know I can do this. God will be my guide and I will follow in his footsteps.

I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run you will not stumble. Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life. Proverbs 4:11-13

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