Kristopher Watson ’11 of Voorhees, N.J.
- What was your favorite experience on this trip?
“One of my favorite experiences was singing in Mozart’s church in Salzburg. Experiencing the history first-hand and seeing the place where Mozart played the organ was something I’ll never forget. As if that was not enough, being conducted by the current director (of the cathedral), singing a piece written by Mozart himself, is something that could never be repeated. That director then gave us a tour of the oldest portions of the church and talked a bit about us coming together in this unique moment that could never be repeated.”
- How has your perspective changed on this trip?
“I have learned so much about the kind hearts of complete strangers. Even with a language barrier, we were able to give our offerings at some of the most amazing churches in Europe, but the gifts we received were even more profound – a hug, a tear, or a kind word in broken English from a person who was so touched by our work has given me first-hand perspective of a global community. I want to go back home and learn more and be more aware of what is going on in the world around me."
- What have you learned through your experiences?
“There is so much I’ve learned that I could never have experienced in a classroom. The enormity of Notre Dame or the beauty of the gardens at the Abbey of St. Hildegard could not be conveyed in a photograph. Walking in the footsteps of the victims of Dachau turned the Holocaust from something abstract to something concrete that I could touch and feel. The pain that we saw in the films and photos cannot be pushed aside when you see the cramped quarters where the prisoners were kept. I learned so much about church history by seeing the styles of the churches we visited and how they were designed and decorated. What I was able to learn about German current affairs and cuisine from our host family in Wangen is priceless. It seems that Europeans have such a stronger connection to their history than Americans. Understanding how people live on another continent will inform the decisions I make about my own life and has renewed my desire to have a stronger connection with my family, my church, and my community.”