Serving and Learning in Community

2019. december 11., szerda

This semester RCH welcomed students from the Cavin Unversity at its various ministries. One of them, Avery Gill shares her reflection on her time in Hungary.

This semester I experienced not only the privilege of studying abroad in the lovely Budapest, but also working at the Reformed Church in Hungary (RCH) Ecumenical Office. Here I edited articles, interviews, and blog posts for the church’s website. This kind of interaction with a local organization is rare on most study abroad programs. Thankfully, the university I attend (Calvin University) finds these interactions integral to a young college student’s experience.

Calvin students on top of Gellert Hill

This type of working and learning experience is called “Service-Learning”. The mission of Service-Learning is to “engage and equip people in and for the pursuit of God’s shalom. This is achieved by learning together, primarily through community-based service-learning, social justice activity, and civic participation”. Service-Learning is especially exciting when done in a new country. What better way to dig into the culture and provide service to important organizations all over the world. Throughout my time here in Budapest I’ve gotten to work alongside the RCH. Service-Learning is a great way for students to gain a deeper understanding of their community while serving the people around them.

Lupeni, Romania

During our time in central and eastern Europe, the Calvin group went on several excursions. First we went to Sarajevo, Bosnia where we learned about the siege of Sarajevo and the war that area was affected by. Second, we went to Lupeni, Romania and visited the New Horizons Foundation which is working to bring shalom through rebuilding trust in a post-communist community. And third, we went to Krakow, Poland where we visited Auschwitz concentration camp. These excursions combined with all of our Service-Learning placements gave us a fuller picture of the issues facing central and eastern Europe.

Lupeni, Romania


Though I saw many different beautiful places this semester, I fell most in love with our home city, Budapest. The ease of public transportation on the beautiful yellow trams, the delicious chimney cakes and goulash, so many things I’m going to miss. While places like Fisherman’s Bastion, Buda Castle, Szechenyi Baths, etc. are beautiful, it’s walking across the Liberty Bridge to class each day, watching the musical fountain on Margaret Island, and taking tram 2 down the Danube that I’ll miss the most. I’ve only spent four months here in Budapest, but it already feels so much like home. The people I met, and the city I am still discovering will forever be in my heart.

Thanks to the long-standing partnership between the Calvin University, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA and Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church in Hungary, a group of Calvin students regularly come to Hungary for a semester abroad. Read more on this partnership here. 

Avery Gill

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Reformed Church in Hungary

Address: H-1146 Budapest, Abonyi utca 21.   

PO Box: 1140 Budapest 70, Pf. 5

Phone/Fax: + 36 1 460 0708 


Our church through American eyes

We encourage you to read our  former GM intern Kearstin Bailey's blog about her time, spent in Hungary.