What made you decide to participate in the HUA program?
I decided to do the Australasia program after learning about all of the exciting activities you have the opportunity to do on the trip! I also thought “When else will I have the opportunity to travel to Australia, New Zealand, and Asia?” Joke’s on me, because I’m ready to go back right now!
What was it like attending HUA?
HUA was a non-stop adventure. We were constantly exploring, being active, and meeting new people. There are so many opportunities to try new things, as well as chances to relax and explore whichever city you are in.
What was it like living in Australasia?
We lived all over the place. When I went, we lived in New Zealand for a month, Australia for two weeks, and Asia for a month. New Zealand and Australia were so beautiful. We often hiked, did activities, and explored the cities while we were there. We stayed in apartments and spent enough time there to make it feel like home. Asia was a much different cultural experience, but I enjoyed learning the customs of each country and experiencing life there. Lots of interesting foods, different garments, and new friends!
What did you learn? How did you grow?
I learned that the world is full of incredible adventures. Don’t let fear keep you from experiencing it. My heart grew for the people around the world who don’t have the same comforts, safety, and freedom I’ve been given and that are found in the gospel. I also grew in my love for adventure and trying new things.
How were you challenged?
I was challenged to try things that scared me, like skydiving and bungee jumping! I was also humbled by the people we met whose lives look so different than mine, but whose hearts are so big for the Lord.
What was your favorite aspect of HUA?
I loved the adventure! We had the opportunity to ski, skydive, bungee jump, horseback ride, whitewater raft, go canyoning, snorkel, scuba dive, spend time with elephants, and more! Outside of this trip, I never would’ve had the courage to do some of these things!
What is one standout memory from HUA?
Snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef is one of my favorite memories from HUA. I was so mesmerized by all of the colors and different types of fish. Being so close to them, swimming with turtles, and even touching a shark are just a few of the things I will never forget.
What do you wish people knew about HUA?
I wish people knew that there is nothing to fear when studying abroad. The time away, the distance, and the cost are nothing compared to the places you get to see and the people you get to build relationships with.
What would you say to others thinking about attending the HUA program?
Do it! It is the experience of a lifetime, and the biggest blessing of all is that it never truly ends. Studying abroad teaches you how to explore everywhere you go, and it can give you life-long friends to continue going on adventures with after you get back.
How do you see the world differently after studying abroad?
The world is more accessible than you think! It’s worth every penny to see new places and be exposed to different cultures. The world is also much smaller than I used to think. God’s people are spread all across it, ready to share their lives with you.
Ryann Heim attended the fall 2017 Harding in Australasia (HUA) program.