When Bryan Zhu came to America from China four years ago, he arrived with a specific purpose in mind: study, prepare, and be accepted to an American college. Many Chinese students move in with an American family during high school with the same purpose in mind, so there was nothing “new” in Zhu’s plan. Or so he thought. Just last week, Zhu was a participant in the Experience Christendom Summer Program, an event that deepened Zhu’s Catholic faith — a faith he only just converted to since moving to the United States.
Zhu moved in with a Protestant family in Lancaster, Pennsylvania upon arriving in the United States and enrolled at Lancaster Catholic High School, thanks to a special international student agency called “New Oasis.” That family brought Zhu into the Protestant faith while he was studying at Lancaster Catholic, where he was also being exposed to the beauties of the Catholic faith. That exposure led to questions, and eventually to belief. Last year, on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception Zhu converted to Catholicism, continuing his journey in Faith. The next step? That would come when the Freemans showed him a brochure for the Experience Christendom Summer Program, held not too far away in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Zhu, a naturally curious young adult, thought “why not?” He was floored at what the one week would eventually expose to him.
“It was not until this past week that I really what exactly education is,” says Zhu. “Human beings are not machines. We are not supposed to be trained to do one specific thing only. Sadly, that’s exactly what most of the schools can only provide to ‘educate’ the youth today. Most of us don’t even know who we are, where are we going and what are we living for. After a week of being at Christendom College, I really felt how ignorant I am about myself, about humanity and about God. Instead of training people into a work machine, Christendom’s liberal arts curriculum restores our knowledge of what does it mean to be a human being.”
Zhu truly fell in love with the liberal arts education offered at Christendom during the week, as he learned philosophy, history, English language and literature, and theology from Christendom’s own faculty — including from the college president. The education, in just a week, opened new doors for him into the depths of human knowledge. The life in the classroom dovetailed beautifully with the life outside of it as well, as Zhu experienced an authentic Catholic culture in the hikes, dances, and debates he shared with the forty-seven other participants in his session. In the end, he considered his choice to come to the program not just a smart one; he considered it the best week ever.
“With the focus on God in everything they do at Christendom, I whole-heartedly recommend its liberal arts education for everyone who wants to discover the true nature of man and our relation with God, and who wants to become an authentic leader in combating the culture of death in whatever area you work in in the future. It was easily my best week of my life and the impact is unfathomable,” concludes Zhu.
A deepened Faith. An understanding of what a real education looks like. An exposure to what great possibilities the future holds. This is the experience that Zhu had at Christendom during the summer program.
There are still slots available for this year’s program. Register today.