Up up and away… to the great down under

The very precise fictional character Phineas Fogg made it around the world in 80 days in the book by Jules Verne. Senior Kayon Watson recently discussed her trip around the world in 50 minutes.

On September 13, Watson led an interactive session in Baird Library about her study abroad semester this past spring in Australia.

“Around the World in 50 Minutes” is a session designed to let students and faculty share their experiences from different areas of the globe.

Jackie Irving, the advisor for the Multicultural Advisory Committee, is in charge of operating these sessions. Her main goal is to give students an opportunity to share their “cultural and spiritual viewpoints from different parts of the world,” she said.

Watson returned from her trip this past May after four and a half months down under, and since then, she has had a desire to share her experiences.

“I was talking with my friends about putting on a presentation, but a couple of weeks later, I got the email from Irving asking if I could do it for MAC. All I had to do was show up, and it all worked out for me,” Watson said.

More than 25 students and faculty attended the session, which began with an introduction by Irving, followed by Watson interacting with the group about Australian stereotypes.

She then shared some interesting facts about the continent. It has no active volcanoes, population of 17 million and is the largest island. She also stated that people there are very sarcastic.”They use crude humor, and sport is their religion,” Watson said.

Before departing last January, Watson felt a lot of stress as to whether or not to take part in the trip. She changed her mind numerous times over the course of a few days, but finally made the decision to study abroad.

“My mindset was ‘Go for it.’ You never know what is inside of you waiting to come out. I trusted in the Holy Spirit, because I was leaving my family and Eastern for vulnerability, courage and faith that I didn’t even see yet.”

Her trip began with stressful airport situations: a delayed flight, a missed flight and lost luggage.

Once she was settled, she began school at Macquarie University, located in Sydney, Australia. Macquarie was a big change for Watson.

“It was a shock, with 30,000 students, compared to the 1,600 at Eastern. The Australian education is also taken more seriously than it is in America. Professors teach you how to think critically and analytically. There were no multiple choice questions, nor were there true/false questions. Everything was an essay,” Watson said.

When she wasn’t in class, Watson was having fun at the beaches, local zoos and hanging out with people from Chile, Ecuador, New Zealand, Canada and India.

“Before I left, it was really pressed into me to be a light in the darkness, as I had a heart for my friends and a heart for the lost,” Watson explained. She shared stories of planting seeds in the lives of her friends and sharing her faith with them as well.

Watson’s time in the world of Australia simply cannot be summed up by what she learned in the classroom.

“Through this trip, I learned that I should never limit God in what he says he can do, and I should always be looking where you can learn something new from any person or circumstance.”

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