Senior Studies Abroad in UgandaWritten by Faith Myers
- Published: February 26, 2019
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From the beginning of January to the middle of May 2018, DBU senior Katie Evenson studied abroad in Uganda, attending Uganda Christian University in a town called Mukono. For Evenson, this opportunity to learn in another country was something that has been on her heart for a long time.
“In high school, I went on a few overseas mission trips,” Evenson began. “During this time, I realized that I love traveling and having the opportunity to experience new cultures and meet people whom did not grow up the way I have. It was always so humbling, and taught me so much. Ever since then, I knew I wanted to study abroad.”
Near the end of her first semester as a junior at DBU, Evenson began to search for opportunities overseas. As an aspiring social worker, she became interested in Uganda’s unique program.
“My academic advisor, Dr. Marilyn Edwards, told me about the BestSemester program,” she explained. “When I went online to learn more about the program, I saw that the Uganda Christian Studies Program offered a social work emphasis. That is when I knew I wanted to go to Uganda.”
Once she chose Uganda as her place of study, Evenson started to pray daily about her time in the town of Mukono and that her experience in Uganda would mold her to be more like Christ.
While in Uganda, Evenson had the opportunity to go to the Katanga slum in Kampala with her supervisor and coworkers. There, her supervisor mentioned that many women in the slums are involved in prostitution. This experience, Evenson explained, taught her that we are called to love everyone in Christ.
“I immediately judged the women I was passing by in the slums,” Evenson shared. “I assumed that they were simply caught up in sin. However, after learning some of these women’s stories, I realized that they were so desperate and felt as if prostitution was the only way to provide food and an education for their children.”
Another unforgettable moment for Evenson happened when she was washing clothes with her Ugandan roommate. Her roommate explained how it is common for students to steal clothes off the clotheslines, and how she prays for God to protect her clothes. It was this conversation, Evenson shares, that taught her how we can often be blind for our need of Jesus.
“This story may seem insignificant; however, it taught me that I try to do things using my own strength,” said Evenson. “It was such an honor to live among the Ugandans because they understand their daily need for Christ. The American life gives an illusion that we have everything that we need because we have access to so many material things. For example, we have alarms to make sure we are safe or savings accounts to make sure we are financially stable. I am confident that God used the people in Uganda to teach me that I need Jesus every day.”
Now, Evenson hopes to return to Uganda next fall and plans on applying for a position at the university.
“Although my first few weeks in Uganda were hard, I grew to love the place with my whole heart. The people whom I met taught me that home is less about things and more about people. My time in Uganda is now such a significant part of my sanctification story. I plan to apply for a position at Uganda Christian University, and Lord willing, go back to work for two semesters starting in the fall of 2019.”