Vol. 9, May 2020

[For the next few months, our newsletter will feature various study abroad alumni reflecting on their study abroad experience. This month, we have chosen Ryann Heim to share her story. Ryann was a student worker in the International Programs office for two years, beginning in spring 2018. We are thankful for Ryann's creativity, tenacity, joyful spirit and exceptional organizational skills and miss her already! Ryann attended HUA during the fall of 2017 and graduated from Harding with a B.A. in Film in spring 2020.] 

God has created a world full of things to see and explore. Adventure can be found in the depths of the Great Barrier Reef, in the Hindu temples of India, and even on a rope swing in Searcy. In the past few years, I've had the opportunity to embark on all of these amazing adventures and more. Studying abroad taught me that with the right people, adventure is everywhere.

In the Fall of 2017, I had the opportunity to study abroad in Australasia with 26 other Harding students and 4 different faculty/staff. In three months I visited six countries: New Zealand, Australia, India, Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia.

The incredible activities I got to participate in are easily the coolest things I’ve ever done. I skydived 15,000 feet over the Remarkables in New Zealand. I touched a shark on the Great Barrier Reef. I sang in the Sydney Opera House. I fed monkeys on the side of the road in India. I bathed elephants in Thailand. I went to a ghost museum in Malaysia.

These memories are thrilling, emotional, and unforgettable. But the truth is, this experience taught me how to find adventure anywhere with anyone. Studying abroad gave me a craving to see more of the world, and an amazing group of people to explore it with.

International Programs gave me life-long friends. Having the shared experience of seeing the world in the way we did is so valuable. Soon we transitioned from only talking about study abroad to actually talking about our day-to-day lives and struggles. We went from travel buddies to true friends. I even began working for the International Programs Office. The leadership and kindness of the staff in that office have been an incredible example to me.

People often ask me if I miss Australasia. Of course I do. A part of my heart is in all of the places I traveled to. However, my heart is landing in other places too as I adventure around Searcy, Memphis, Utah, and beyond to experience life with these true friends that make every day into an adventure.

I am so thankful for my experience with Harding’s International Programs. God has used it to grow my heart for the world and others. While I am biased towards Australasia, I also see the immense value that can be found in every other program that is offered, whether that is in Europe, South America, or Africa! I’ve loved being able to serve the Harding community by answering their questions, filing their paperwork, and sorting through tons of spreadsheets to make sure their study abroad experience is as amazing as mine was. Thank you International Programs for three years of adventure. I will always cherish the memories made abroad, on campus, and in our office.

A quote found in my journal from HUA: “We’re moving constantly and traveling to new places, but as long as I’m with these people, I feel safe and at home.” – My travel journal, 11-03-17 in Sydney, Australia

Photo Explanations

  • Ryann in Sydney, Australia
  • Ryan and friends at Bondi Beach in Australia
  • Ryann and friends at Harding's Christmas lighting ceremony
  • Ryann and friends at IHOP
  • International Programs office walking through the First Ladies Garden, photo by Brooke Kaye
  • HUA Fall 2017 in India

Calling all Harding University study abroad alumni, we want to hear and share your stories! We believe that studying abroad is a powerful experience that can profoundly affect your life. Did studying abroad expand your worldview, influence your career, help you develop new hobbies/interests/skills, or meet new people (friends, mentors, spouse, etc.)? Did you have a truly unique experience while studying abroad, like meeting a celebrity in the Louvre? Whether you went to HUF in the fall of 1980 or HULA in the spring of 2013, we want to hear and share these stories!

Please email your story and photos to international@harding.edu. Include your name and Instagram handle (if you have one), and indicate the program, semester and year you attended. Because this will be on social media, please keep your stories to a paragraph or two, if possible. 

Please share this with your friends, family and study abroad group!

Signing Up to Study Abroad Just Got Easier!

We are proud to announce that we now have an online study abroad application! This will make signing up to study abroad faster and easier. If you know someone who is planning to sign up to study abroad with us, please share this with them. 

Sign up to Study Abroad!
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Harding University International Programs

915 E Market Ave, Searcy
Arkansas 72149 United States