AU student travels the world with Tri-S

Mon, 2010-05-24 08:00 -- univcomm
May 24, 2010

Anna Haveman has traveled to more places than most people dream of. Guatemala, Hong Kong and Atlanta are just three of the places she has visited. In May, India was added to the list. But, how can a 21-year-old college student afford to go on all these incredible trips? The answer is simple: Anderson University’s Tri-S program.

hong kong 863When Haveman first came to AU as a freshman, she had only been out of the country once. “My family traveled a lot within the states, but I never really cared. The trip I took to the Dominican Republic my sophomore year of high school was the first time I had been out of the country,” she said. “After that I developed a passion for Latin America.” She said that after taking a closer look at the Tri-S program, and going on her first overseas trip, she developed a true love for traveling. “This passion was birthed in me in high school and has grown and developed even more in college.” [Photo to left: Anna Haveman with one of the residents she cared for on her recent trip to Hong Kong.]

Aside from getting to visit other countries and have unique experiences in college, Haveman has several reasons for going on a Tri-S trip. “The trips are incredibly cheap compared to what they would cost if I went on my own,” she said. And it’s true. With help from different organizations and aid from the university, most trips end up costing significantly less than individual travel.

“They also give me the opportunity to travel and serve without having to do a lot of planning on my own. These trips have allowed me to serve and learn in ways that I never would have been able to otherwise,” said Haveman.

It’s hard to believe that a college student can afford so many trips, but Haveman said raising the money hasn’t been as difficult as many would think. “I have paid for all of the trips by myself. I work to pay for each trip and when I sign up, the cost isn’t really a factor because I know I can do it,” she said. Many college students will send out support letters, baby-sit and even host bake sales to raise funds for their trips. However, Haveman had a different idea. “I made journals and sold them to people. That raised enough money to pay for one trip entirely,” she said.

Money is not the only determining factor in deciding whether or not to travel. Agoraphobia, fear of traveling, prevents many people from experiencing the world around them. Most never travel for fear of the cultural differences they may face in different countries. However, for Haveman, this is one of the best parts of traveling. “Most of the trips blend cultural learning with service, so I have been able to experience the culture and people, while serving them,” Haveman said. [Photo to right: Anna Haveman (right) and another student from Anderson University stand atop mount Pacaya, an active volcano in Guatemala, Mexico during a Tri-S trip.]

The diversity of Haveman’s trips account for the differences in the cultures she has experienced. “When I was in Hong Kong, I was often the only white person,” she said. “I was constantly stared at and it was very intimidating at times.” All the staring never really bothered her though. “Being in a foreign country, not being able to speak the language and knowing the people there couldn’t speak English was the most frustrating and nerve-racking part of the trip,” she said. “I was never really concerned about being the minority.”

Out of all the many memories, Haveman does have a favorite. “The most impactful moment would be one on the trip to Hong Kong. Almost every night I would sing to the residents as they slept. Sometimes I was the only one on duty, and it was in those moments that I really felt God,” she said. “Through these trips, I have seen God in ways I never have before. Tri-S has helped shape the path my life is taking by encouraging me to reach out and serve where I can. After all, there is a need everywhere you look.”

- Missi Martin is a junior from Goshen, Ind., majoring in communication arts. Martin is an associate with Fifth Street Communications, writing on behalf of Anderson University Office of University Communications.

Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,700 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2009, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the sixth consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing and theology.