While being in another country I came to realize that I wanted to find a community. At first, it wasn’t easy looking for a group of people with anything in common. Finding a friend group, a church group, or even a mentor did not just fall into my hands.
I will say the international student directors and professors at UPAEP try their best to be available in directing and mentoring your experience here. Yet, I ended up finding a community in an unexpected way.
One day, a friend invited me to a young adults retreat near the university, during a three day weekend. It was said to be a life changing experience and an opportunity to find an encounter with God. On the search to meet more people from the area and lacking a home church I figured I should go.The day of the trip, we met youth of 14 – 25 years old, all questioning what the trip was going to entail. Unfortunately, I cannot spoil all the details of the retreat. But with complete honesty I can say it was one of the best experiences I have had. Through this event I was able to strengthen my relationship with God through each moment we had to simply sit in his presence. I reflected on my life with each testimony shared. I made decisions on how to grow in my spirituality through each encounter with those that I came to love there. It was truly breathtaking to meet so many people from different stages in life, choosing to become a family as our journey went on. The leaders of the retreat were so welcoming and supportive regardless of the burdens or mentalities we brought. I was amazed by how young some of them were and how they shared their personal stories and talents to better our experience.
After the retreat we continued building a community with one another. They invited us to join them in praise and worship and bible study once a week. The family I built with these young adults will not be forgotten upon my arriving back home. I advise any student coming to UPAEP to take the initiative to attend such a powerful experience. The next retreat will take place on November 20th (shown in the flyer below).