“How was your study abroad?” “Oh my gosh that’s so cool, what was it like?” “What are some of your favorite memories?”

I have been pressed with a stampede of questions about my study abroad since my return to the States, and I have given a plethora of answers. However, I think it is likely that I may never find the words or even formulate a cohesive mental conclusion to such a wild episode of my life.

If you are reading this, you are probably either part of the faculty that helped make this adventure possible or you are a student considering whether a journey similar is the right thing for you. I sadly can’t give either party a full mental picture of my experience, but hopefully a snippet of a mental picture and a few real pictures will give deeper insight into what my experience abroad looked and felt like.

Here is my campus:

Beautiful right? My time spent on campus was limited but I view it fondly. The quaint little coffee shop (out of frame on the left of both images) was the writing place of my previous blog post and the mission zone of most of my projects.

School was less than arduous, which is how it should be. This gave me time to travel and visit 13 countries.

If you are part of the latter party on here looking for advice, let me key you in on Colton’s #1 tip: Go somewhere different.

Yes, go to the popular places and see the things that everyone sees for a reason, but consider taking one or maybe a few trips to places that aren’t exactly popular.

Here are some images of my “less seen, but all the more beautiful” spots.

A couple classics:

One of my coolest experiences while in Vienna was being able to witness history unfold as Eliud Kipchoge ran a marathon under two hours! Wild right? The crazy thing is, it was on my way to class!

As I ponder that last photograph, I think about how I feel right about now. To be completely honest, I don’t feel like Eliud. I do not have this great sense of completion and accomplishment. What I am feeling is more like what he was probably thinking at the start of his two hour feat. I am feeling like my legs are just warming up to cultural understanding. Spending a semester is well worth the sacrifice (and it is a sacrifice) because I do not think another length of time is going to even get the proverbial clock started.

If you are on the fence, if you are a Christian like me, pray about it. If you’re not a Christian like me, consider praying about it.

I am immensely blessed to be able to use one of my God given abilities (taking pictures) to capture many of the different canvases He painted. The crazy part is, there is so much more. Studying abroad has given me a deeper, yet still incomprehensible, understanding of the breadth of this world. I am so humbled by this world. It is big. I am small. I like it that way now.

Till next time,
Colton Shorman