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As spring break drew closer, Taylor Heggan '20 was becoming nervous about her upcoming week-long adventure in London with other students from her religion course. It would be her first time traveling outside of the U.S.
“I learned about the London trip through some upperclassmen who went in previous years and loved it,” said Heggan, a Lebanon Valley College physical therapy major. “I decided to listen to my peers who told me to go, and I am so happy I did.”
Heggan and eight other students in Dr. Matthew Sayers Encountering World Religions course spent a week in London exploring religious traditions and enjoying the cultural richness of the city. Dr. Sayers, associate professor of religion, has taken students to London for the past five spring breaks. The group explored religious sites and activities and discussed as a group religious life in London and toured landmarks including Speakers Corner, Stonehenge, Westminster Abby, and Shri Swaminarayan Temple, which was the first traditional Hindu temple in Europe. Additionally, the group discussed interfaith work in the city with employees and interns at the Three Faiths Forum, an organization that works to build understanding among people of different faiths and beliefs.
“Their main goal is to try and teach kids at a young age that diversity is okay and we need to treat everyone the same, no matter what their religious background,” said Cassi Swope ’20, an exercise science major.
As part of their coursework, students collected 30 photographs from at least five religious traditions and shared their experiences with those people, artworks, or places in presentations.
“London was an amazing experience, and I absolutely cannot wait to go back,” Swope said.
“This trip definitely pushed me outside of my comfort zone, but I learned so much about the world and myself,” said Heggan. “Going to London sparked a newfound interest in traveling, and the experience was something I will never forget.”