Ripon College’s Campus Christian Fellowship takes a group of students to Valencia, Spain
During spring break 2023, 15 students traveled to Valencia, Spain via Ripon College’s Campus Christian Fellowship (CCF), marking what may be the beginning of an annual tradition for the Christian organization.
According to CCF Minister Luke Hatfield, the goals of the Christian fellowship are to “follow Jesus together” and to create a safe space for Christians and non-Christians alike to explore and experience who Jesus is.
“The value of CCF taking a group of Students to Spain was to accomplish those goals with Ripon College students in a different cultural setting alongside Christians from another country,” Hatfield said, adding that CCF partnered with En Vivo, a college ministry located in Valencia.
Through this partnership, the group got to know Valencian students and accompanied them for morning prayer time, a bilingual workshop night, a paella party, and several other events.
Mikayla Barnes, CCF president and one of the students who went on the trip said some of the sites they explored throughout their time in Spain were the Plaza de la Virgen, named after the Virgin Mary; El Micalet tower, a Gothic bell tower of the Valencia cathedral; the Plaza de la Reina; and the old Roman ruins. They also experienced “Las Fallas,” one of the city’s biggest, annual, month-long festivals, and the Mascletà, which translates to a “pyrotechnic event” and includes a lot of noise and fireworks.
“One of my favorite moments from the trip was the day we got there, walking up, coming out of the metro system after almost an entire day of traveling to get the very first glimpse of what Spain looked like. The structure of the buildings [was] like nothing I had ever seen before … and the excitement of exploring the city [was] so invigorating and engaging,” Barnes said.
The trip to Spain was also regarded as an educational journey that allowed students to develop a global and historical perspective of Christianity and to become interested in traveling abroad and engaging with other cultures.
“Personally, besides learning about Spain, sightseeing, and speaking Spanish, I learned to let go of fear. On the trip, God really showed me how to overcome the fear of the unknown by putting the details into His hands,” Barnes said.
David Bendorf, a Ripon College junior who also went to Spain with CCF, agreed that the trip was a valuable experience.
“The willingness to be vulnerable was a recurring theme in Spain,” Bendorf said. “Being present and embracing vulnerability in Spain allowed for remarkable connections with people, experiencing Las Fallas and the Mascletà in an unbelievable way, and creating enduring memories that will last a lifetime, despite many of the experiences being different from those in America.”
According to Hatfield, the intercultural experience was made possible because of the One Fund and because of the trip planning that was done by the college ministry organization that CCF partners with, His House Christian Fellowship.
CCF hopes to continue immersing themselves in Spanish culture and building relationships with Valencian students by making their Spain trips a tradition.
“We are hoping to be able to take this trip again next year to continue the relational moment that has begun between En Vivo, CCF, and His House Christian Fellowship,” Hatfield said. “We also hope that in the future we can bring college students from Valencia to visit Ripon College.”