We are blessed to live on a campus that is so beautiful. Surrounded by miles of valleys, hills, and bountiful trees reigning over, we are reminded of God’s love every day. Connecting with God through nature can pull us out of low places and calm the chaos in our lives. Here are a few ways you can connect with God through nature.
We have outdoor sabbath and vespers for our students and faculty each year. Sometimes students can be found outside on a sunny Sabbath praising and worshiping together. With spring and summer coming up, try to worship outside every once in a while.
Appreciate the Outdoors
There are many ways at PUC for students to appreciate the outdoors. The Back 40 is a pleasant atmosphere to worship, have devotional time, and be alone with God. It’s a go-to spot to go for a walk, run, or bike ride. Linda Falls is a local favorite for hiking and relaxing by the waterfall or sitting under the trees for shade. There are also numerous camping sites in our area where students go to embark on the great outdoors.
Walk and Talk
Walking and talking with God in nature is a peaceful experience. Being in the midst of a quiet, serene space can put you at ease, give perspective to your situations, and feel God’s presence.
When weather permits, take your devotional and Bible reading time outside. PUC’s numerous Bible study groups enjoy having their meetings outside in the fresh air. It’s relaxing being in the stillness of nature, reading his word, and seeing the beauty he’s created all around you.
PUC promotes a spiritual, active lifestyle- and the environment that we’re in helps do that. The nature around us is refreshing to be in and helps physical, mental, and spiritual health. Connect with God through nature and see all the wonder and goodness that he is.
Natalia Gomez recently flew back to her hometown of Santa Barbara after spending most of her summer studying abroad at Villa Aurora in Italy. Applying through ACA (Adventist Colleges Abroad), she saw that she didn’t know anyone in the program but decided to take a leap of faith and go on this once-in-a-lifetime adventure before her senior year. By facing her fears, Natalia met amazing people on campus, learned Italian, explored new places, and indulged in delicious food every day. From her “HOT!, inspiring, and yummy” time in Italy, Natalia couldn’t have asked for a better study abroad experience.
How has your time in Italy been?
My time in Italy has been great! I’ve been able to visit and explore a new Italian city every week as well as really familiarize myself with Florence. It’s pretty exciting to be living in Florence and find my favorite spots to study or get gelato. I have definitely indulged and gotten gelato almost every day I’ve been here. School in Italy is not structured the same as back home, and learning a new language comes with its challenges, but it has been a lot of fun learning a new language and immersing yourself in the culture. I’d definitely say that I’ve gotten the most practice with speaking in Italian through talking with salespeople or waiters at restaurants. I didn’t always understand what they were saying at first or even what I was saying, but it made for some funny moments, and after a few weeks, I got the hang of it. I’m definitely not fluent, but I’ve really enjoyed being able to speak with locals in Italian as best as I can.
What inspired you to study in Italy?
I have to be honest, the foodie in me is what really determined me to study in Italy. I love pasta, and I love ice cream, and the thought of having the best of the best in Italy, on a regular basis? Sold! But of course, I also thought it would be really exciting to make new friends from all over the world. I really enjoyed going on an ADRA missions trip a few years back, and I made incredible friendships from that experience, and I was also hoping the same would come out of studying abroad! I actually took a really big leap of faith and decided to go abroad alone, without knowing anyone else in the program. And after my time here, I honestly would recommend going even if you don’t know anyone.
Describe your typical day studying abroad.
My typical day abroad: I wake up around 7 a.m. to get ready for breakfast at 7:30 at the caf or a quick trip to a nearby cafe. Then I go to classes from 8:40-1:15, usually getting some snacks from the vending machines during class breaks. Once I’m out of classes, I run over to the caf for lunch to be in the front of the lunch line because lunch is the best meal of the day on campus! And after lunch, some friends and I take off to our favorite spots to do homework and study. Then we explore Florence or go shopping before dinner. If I don’t eat dinner in town, I go back to campus for dinner, but regardless- I will always go out with friends after dinner for gelato. Then it’s time for an ice-cold shower before bed, it’s so hot in the summer, that’s the only way to fall asleep peacefully. (keep in mind, I was in Italy during Europe’s record-breaking heat wave). I usually fall asleep around midnight.
What have been your favorite things about studying abroad?
Surprisingly meeting new people has been my favorite thing! I’m actually a pretty shy person and studying in Italy without knowing anyone seemed scary at first. However, I’ve met amazing people while being here, from students to teachers and the volunteers who work on campus! I’ve had so much fun going out with everyone here that I’ve actually already made plans to travel and go out with some new friends after returning home!
What will you miss the most about your time abroad?
That’s tough, I miss so much! But I’d have to say exploring Florence in the afternoons after school was the best time. Practicing our Italian, finding new places, trying new foods – just adventuring without a plan was so fun! Some of the funniest memories came from us just taking advantage of our time and exploring. Was there an afternoon where at one point there were dark clouds and lightning off in the distance? Yes. Did we have jackets or umbrellas? Nope. Did we get caught in a rainstorm and end up running in the rain all over the city? Yes, we did, and it was one of the funniest nights ever. Truly just do it all!
Recommend an Italian dish or restaurant.
Medici’s has the best gelato and this has been confirmed by multiple locals! I went here almost every day of the summer- all the flavors are amazing! Although I’d have to say that Stracciatella is my favorite flavor of gelato, and this was the best place to get it. Everywhere else I went did not compare.
What would you say to someone who is interested in ACA?
Just go for it! Don’t let any of your fears or worries stop you from having once-in-a-lifetime experiences. It sounds so cheesy, but when else will you have the opportunity to be 18-22 ish running around a foreign city with friends, trying new foods, seeing beautiful landscapes, and learning about another culture? It’s probably one of the last times you’ll have a summer camp type of experience before you graduate and start working.
Getting a college education is important for many reasons. Having a degree looks great on your resume, lots of jobs even require one. It can help you with future career success and satisfaction as well as provide you with long term financial stability. The one downfall is that college is expensive, but we like to think of it as an investment in yourself. Here at PUC, we are always working on ways to make that investment financially possible.
Did you know the average student takes out loans EACH year of college? While that enables you to get the education you deserve, those loans add up and eventually, you have to pay them off. 😩 For most, getting your dream job (with dream pay) right out of college doesn’t happen so you might be worried about making enough money to afford student loans. This is why PUC is excited to be partnering with Ardeo Education Solutions to offer the first-ever Loan Repayment Assistance Program. LRAP is a financial safety-net we offer at no cost to you or your family. If your income after graduation is under $45,000, we can help you pay back your federal, private, and parent plus loans.
How does the PUC Promise work you ask? Well, it’s fairly simple.
Work at least an average of 30 hours per week—in any profession (or more than one job if needed)
Begin repaying your federal, private alternative, or parent PLUS loans
The PUC Promise reimburses a percentage, or all, of your loan repayment
The PUC Promise is new and we’re sure you’ve got questions. Reach out to our Admissions team via phone (800) 862-7080, option 2, or email email@example.com for more information.
Please note: Students who pursue nursing aren’t eligible for the PUC Promise. The good news is, PUC made that decision because most of our nursing graduates’ starting salaries are well over $45,000 annually. PUC is actually ranked for top-earning alumni with 2-year degrees because of our nursing graduates, and we want to focus this offer on students who are pursuing majors leading to careers with more modest starting salaries.