January 2017 was the final Biola Interterm. The January term will be replaced by an enhanced summer program.

As a way of saying farewell, we have life-changing Interterm recollections from two Biochemistry seniors. Special thanks to Peggy Giboney for sharing these stories.

chloe standing in Rome street with camera

This Interterm I spent two weeks in Rome with the Torrey Honors Institute. The entire trip was packed with art, gelato, and learning about the heritage of Christianity. Most remarkably, I was able to connect the Biblical knowledge I have gained here at Biola with historical sites such as the burial site of Peter, and the site where Paul was beheaded. I also got to experience what it is like to engage in the modern Catholic religion by attending mass at St. Peter’s Basilica, as well as see Pope Francis give a speech to the people gathered outside the Papal Apartment. While I did not get to learn much about science on my trip, I did go to the square where Galileo was held on trial during the during the Roman Inquisition!

I am most grateful, however, for this trip, because I was able to experience aspects of my Christian faith in community with many, many other believers from varying denominations. It helped me realize that while we may have differing dogmatic beliefs or traditions, we all serve one true God, who has created us to be in relationship with Him. This trip renewed and strengthened my faith in ways that I did not anticipate before embarking on my long journey to Rome, and that will always be unforgettable to me.

-Chloe Stewart, Biochemistry major, Senior

A few years ago in junior college I took one semester of Mandarin, then transferred out, never to think it over again. Yet a random spur-of-the-moment rafting trip had me crossing paths with Fair Yun, who invited me to backpack through China to experience the culture and family she was to return to after many years.

I had the joy of beginning the adventure in a Beijing hostel. I found myself winded at the Great Wall, but refreshed by the devotionals and snacks at the summit. I wandered off in Forbidden City. My travel mates and I spent 21 hours on a train to Hunan, Chengde, near Little Germany and the beautiful Xiahejie. All of the traditional Chinese film sets I marveled and imagined suddenly materialized.

I had my mini-bananas stolen right out of my hands by primates at the "Hallelujah Mountains" (the Avatar film set) in Zhangjiajie, followed by roaring laughter as the girls and I recounted our fear of being bitten. The Tianamen mountains are crossed from my bucket list as well. The Hunanese hospitality of my friend's family, both in the city and in the lush countryside, was unrivaled. The food captured me immediately; fresh fish caught that day was simmering in hot pots hours later, paired with bamboo shoots, spicy eggplant, canola plant, lotus root, shredded potato, dried shrimp, garlic and spices, all washed down with peanut milk afterwards. I accidentally ate cow innards, after nine years of no land meats (it was misidentified as squid!).

I learned to calm the storm when I was homesick and picked up a few phrases and words along the way. I’m back and recovering financially from taking that leap of faith to get out and experience. I think this sums up my trip and experience: fēi cháng gǎn xiè ("very grateful, very thankful") to have seen and heard and been and been without and returned home. I'll be back, China (God willing it)!

-Diane Gabriel, Biochemistry major, Senior. Diane's pictures are below and at the top of this story.