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Kathryn Williams and Allyson Backstrom here…

Our three-week adventure has drawn to a close. The past 36 hours are a blur due to travel and a 12-hour time zone change. We had our final gathering last night so we could bid farewell to the five students who will study at the Ateneo de Manila for the semester and one who will enjoy additional travel with his family in Asia. We headed off to the airport at 5 am on Sunday and were scheduled to return to Buffalo by midnight (this direction the time zones let us gain time.) Alas, a bit of a delay on our final leg from Atlanta to Buffalo but all are safe and sound. Our little group returning seems quite small (2 faculty and 3 students) compared to the size of our group at its largest (6 faculty/staff and 9 students).

We are really proud of how well this fine group of students did on this trip. They studied very hard – often without enough sleep. The first week of study under the tutelage of Tim Wadkins set us up well to understand the history of the country and what it means for a country to be ‘God-ridden.’ Students appreciated the quality of lectures we enjoyed by faculty from the Ateneo de Manila University – which bodes well for the students staying at the Ateneo this fall. They engaged fully and asked great questions of all we encountered as we explored health, wealth and faith. They were up for any adventure and were patient when plans needed to change. Most importantly, they all opened themselves up to learning about a new culture. We appreciated learning about the Philippines with this fine group and we thank all the parents for supporting and encouraging your students to immerse themselves in this study abroad opportunity. “We shall return.”