Over the last few weeks of our Europe trip I have been feeling the exhaustion catching up to me every day. As difficult as it is, I am trying to suppress that exhaustion in order to make the most out of my remaining eight days with the group.

I have recently been in a state of individual reflection rather than the communal growth that I was focusing on in the beginning stages of the trip.  Alongside personal growth, I have been trying to find my place in the bigger picture of my spirituality and faith.  Stepping in and out of incredibly built cathedrals, historical monuments and ancient ruins, I am overwhelmed with the amazing spiritual and cultural experiences I have been a part of.  I have felt as if I have been involved in something bigger than myself and our small Christian university as I played simple games with a group of refugee children from all over the world in Munich, or as I learnt about the disastrous fire bombing of Dresden while taking part in a Kurt Vonnegut tour.  This trip forces you, in some way or another, to look beyond your own tragedies and woes and take on someone else’s for a day or just an hour.  This is why the communal aspect is constantly reflected in the life of the individual during the SSU Europe trip.  Although there are times to reflect on a personal level, there is always the wider view of community and my place within it.

I don’t believe I will ever be fully accustomed to living in a 40-person group traveling around Europe, but I do believe there is richness in allowing yourself to grow around people who challenge and disturb you on a daily basis.

Ariel S.

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