Earlier this summer, 40 Walla Walla University students traveled to Jordan, Israel, Turkey and Greece for this year’s Bible lands tour. The biennial tour offers students the opportunity to explore and learn from the ancient biblical world.
Under the instruction of tour leaders Carl Cosaert, School of Theology dean; Jody Washburn, Hebrew and biblical studies associate professor; and Brant Berglin, biblical studies associate professor, tour participants completed eight credit hours of coursework during their trip. The tour offered a variety of upper- and lower-division class options.
According to Cosaert, this year’s trip was unique because the majority of participants were theology majors, creating a close-knit group of travelers. The students were drawn together even more during a cooking class in Amman, Jordan — an activity offered by the tour for the first time.
“Everybody participated and the students did everything, including all the ingredient preparation, bread making, side dish selection and dessert baking,” said Cosaert. “Everyone had an apron on and a cooking utensil in hand. It was a wonderful opportunity to really interact with the culture and learn more about a different way of life.”
Ashley Herber, senior business major, took a biblical archeology class from Cosaert. The class provided her with an opportunity to interview two archeologists and learn about challenges faced by the profession, including long hours in the heat, little pay and the difficult task of remaining impartial and refraining from using archeological discoveries to confirm personal theology. She shared that the tour was especially memorable for her because she and her boyfriend got engaged in the ancient city of Petra, which is a newly named wonder of the world.
Several students on the tour mentioned one of the best parts of the tour was getting to know others and making new friends during the four weeks they spent together. “I may never have talked to some of these people had we not been on the same trip together and I am so glad I was able to get to know them all!” said Herber.