Gunn Hall Program Students Travel on Summer Trip to Germany

Group photo in Germany

For the last two weeks of May, eight Dallas Baptist University students and three staff members traveled to Germany to connect with a local church and its ministry to refugees. They also had the opportunity to learn from the rich history represented throughout the country as they celebrated the end of the academic year. Six Gunn Hall Global Scholars Program of Ford Village members, one Master of Arts in International Studies student, and one additional student were accompanied by Dr. Jay Harley (Vice President for Student Affairs), Kristi Coleman (Director of Prayer Ministry), and Shelby Weatherly (Resident Director of Gunn Hall).

During the first week of their trip, the group stayed in Schorndorf, a small town near Stuttgart, where the students were immersed in German culture through the food and local church body. "Our group did multiple activities with the youth of the church including a sports night, youth gala, barbecue, and day trip to Bodensee," says Shelby Weatherly. "Students also met with a Christian organization that works with women in sex-trafficking and went to one of the government-funded refugee homes where they heard a few of the residents' stories. The students loved making friends their age with the locals."

"Going to Germany was truly incredible as we got to essentially do life with our friends in the German Church," says DBU student Kaelyn Black. "It was really cool to see how Christians in other parts of the world carry out the work and promises of God."

After their time in Schorndorf, the group spent the second week focusing on the life and legacy of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the impact of World War II. "It was sobering for students to go to the actual sites where history occurred," Shelby says. Together, they visited the Nazi Rally Grounds and Courtroom 600 in Nuremberg, Flossenburg Concentration Camp, Dietrich Bonhoeffer's home in Berlin, the Berlin Wall, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin, and Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp.

"Dr. Harley gave lectures on World War II and Dietrich Bonhoeffer while the students stood on the same ground or in the same rooms where these events occurred," says Kristi Coleman.

"The second week was filled with hard truths and inspirational stories that made me think about our world in a different light," Kaelyn shares. "We as Christians can be the light of Jesus and stand up for the least of these even when it's easier to go a different way."

The Gunn Hall Global Scholars Program in Ford Village Program plans to rotate the location of their annual trip each year. Gunn Hall is excited to continue its journey of offering opportunities for students to learn throughout the world. "I watched as our students were able to learn in a deeper way than sitting in a classroom or reading a textbook," Kristi says. "Trips like these make history come alive."

Written by Emmalie Ellis

Emmalie Ellis writes for the University Communications department at Dallas Baptist University.