Third-year MDiv student Donnell Williamson never expected that his seminary experience would include a year spent studying abroad. And yet here he is, currently in his second semester at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich, Germany.

“Before coming to Candler, I had very little interest in living in another country for an extended period of time,” he says. “Candler gave me an existential reason to study abroad, a way to look at the theology I’ve learned and live in relation to another worldview.” Read more from Donnell about his experience.

With 14 partnerships around the globe, Candler is committed to providing opportunities for students to broaden their worldviews. Dozens of Candler students each year have life-changing experiences in our varied international programs. Whether students choose to participate in an academic exchange, travel seminar, internship or other international study opportunity, they will experience the church in its great unity and diversity, while exploring what it means to be a faithful and creative leader, no matter where you are in the world.

Read on to hear about Candler students’ recent journeys that have widened their minds, opened their hearts, and transformed the ways they think about ministry.

  • Israel/Palestine: “The region is breathtaking, the socio-geo-political landscape is complex, and the personal narratives are gripping. When I am asked, ‘How was your trip?’ I really want to respond by saying, ‘How much time do you have?’ Because to tie the trip in a nice, neat, biblical bow, I believe, is an injustice to the work of Christ.” –Third-year MDiv student Lahronda Little. Read Lahronda’s blog post.

  • Singapore: “Of all of my courses, I have enjoyed ‘Theology of Mission’ the most. In this course, we are studying mission from a historical, philosophical, and theological approach. I appreciate this course because it puts me in conversation with other traditions and cultures concerning how we ‘do’ church. My eyes have been opened to many of the advantages and opportunities that we take for granted in the United States.” –Second-year MDiv student Jacob Cogman. Read Jacob’s blog post.

  • Sweden: “There are a lot of candles on dinner tables and in the windows everywhere in the dark season. One week, I saw that the local parish and scouts were offering the community an ‘Evening of Light in the Darkness.’ I couldn’t believe my eyes! Thousands and thousands of candles lit the night forest and even floated on the lake. The whole community was there to enjoy—lots of young families with strollers, older adults and teens.” –Third-year MDiv student Linda Stephan. Read Linda’s blog post.

  • India: “What really struck me about India is that people who are struggling with poverty are not afraid to visibly show it. There is no escaping from it. It is easy in the U.S. to live in places where you can virtually ‘escape’ from homelessness and not be exposed to the struggles of our brothers and sisters. In contrast, India has a long history of classism and income inequality. Christianity is seen as a religion of the west and looked on with suspicion by the government. But yet, for this Dalit, untouchable community, Christianity is seen as a path to new beginnings; a religion of hope.” –First-year MDiv student Rushing Kimball. Read Rushing’s blog post, and read posts from Candler students Jessica Kawamura and Sarah Howell, also on the India trip.

  • The U.S./Mexico border: “Come and see the church, working on both sides of the border, providing food and shelter to those about to cross, drug rehab to those trapped in the cycle of addiction, and a prayer vigil every week for those who have died in the desert surrounding them. I was part of that vigil this week. I joined with the group, saying the names of those who had died in the desert in Arizona since 2000.” –Third-year MDiv student Tiffania Willetts. Read Tiffania’s blog post.

  • Germany: “Daily I am confronted by the words of the Psalmist, ‘How can we sing the songs of the Lord in a foreign land?’ I don't know if there's a right answer to that question. Now that I've lived in Germany for five months, I think I've gained a reasonable response: One must always do the Lord's work in any land.” –Third-year MDiv student Donnell Williamson. Read Donnell’s blog post.