This is part of a series of blog posts written by the 2011 Peace Scholars, as they complete their summer program in Oslo, Norway. Michael Seeley, a Peace Scholar from Augstana College, wrote the following reflection prior to his departure for Norway last week.
As I sit, pondering the quiet, tranquil, luscious rain amid a Wednesday morning, the thought that my surroundings will soon change keeps distracting me. What a wonderful blessing and undeserved opportunity this summer will be! While being gone from family and friends for two months will be challenging, I fully anticipate my experience in Norway to shape my philosophy and alter my life. Yet, several, probing questions continue to pester me as I prepare for the Peace Scholars Program:
- Being only an individual, a college student at that, how can I best affect peace?
- What new adventures will I find there?
- What meaning can a Dutch Reformed man, coming out of a Norwegian Lutheran school, find in the homeland of many of his friends?
- What does “being Norwegian” truly encompass?
- How will I be shaped and changed through my time in Norway?
I cannot simply and blithely travel to another land without first questioning myself. I
am not Norwegian; many, including my fellow Augustanian, are. I’ve received a
wonderful opportunity to travel to others’ homeland, and I feel I must be
prepared. Yet, what does this preparation look like? While wonderful, the trip
promises to contain an exhausting amount of course-work and research, as well
socializing and friendship-building. Should I be reading, researching, praying?
I believe all of the above will help me as I begin this journey. And truth be
told, I am incredibly excited!
Realistically, I know that I will be soon be traveling with a good friend to another
continent. Yet, I am even now struggling to fully comprehend this. As I
research Norway, purchase my Norwegian books, and pray for God’s guidance as we
embark, I trust that my questions will be resolved and I’ll be prepared for
this life-altering journey. For now, the rain continues to fall, and I continue
to delve into myself – a fitting harmony.
Michael Seeley, Augustana College
June 15, 2011
P.S. You can read my personal travel blog here: http://fjordfriends.blogspot.com/